BRIDGE

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"HOW DID you get that one right?" demanded East indignantly, after watching an opponent make a slam that apparently offered only limited play. South smiled complacently. He knew he had played correctly.

The bidding was a little undisciplined. East opened Three No-trumps (explained as showing a broken long minor, and equivalent to an opening of Four in his suit). South, who could have doubled for what would have been a safe 300 points from Four Clubs, unsoundly ventured Four Hearts. Now a Blackwood enquiry from his partner led to a contract of Six Hearts.

Rather than lead his partner's suit (presumably clubs?) West started with the king of diamonds against the slam and this proved a far more punishing attack. After winning on the table, South followed with his two top trumps to find that there was a loser in the suit. Next came the ace of spades, dropping East's nine, and then declarer led and ran the seven of spades! Both the losing diamonds now went away before West could ruff and that represented a plus score of 1430 points.

What was the logic behind the apparently wild finesse in spades? The point was that, if the suit divided 3-2, West would be able to ruff and cash a diamond before it could be discarded. The best chance - indeed, the only chance - was that East's nine of spades was a singleton and that West would have to follow to four rounds of the suit.

NORTH-SOUTH GAME: Dealer South

North

] K Q 8 5 2

_ J 10 9 5

+ A J 4

[ 5

West East

] J 10 6 4 ] 9

_ Q 6 2 _ 4

+ K Q 10 9 + 7 3 2

[ 9 6 [ K Q 10 8 7 4 3 2

South

] A 7 3

_ A K 8 7 3

+ 8 6 5

[ A J

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