Bridge

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The Independent Culture
This deal, where the winning play has all the elegance of a constructed problem, came up in a Gold Cup match. At the table, Six Hearts failed and it was left to one of the defenders to spot - much later - the successful line.

South opened 1! and West overcalled with 24 (weak). North bid 3# and South rebid Hearts. North explored with 42 but his partner's raise to 52 did not help him very much and the eventual contract was 6!.

A club lead would have worked well for the defence but, as the suit had been bid and supported, West chose to lead a spade. How should declarer tackle the play with the reasonable assumptions that the club finesse is wrong and that the hand will be unmanageable if either red suit divides worse than 4-2? Remember, the object is to make 12 tricks, not 13.

As ruffing two diamonds in hand will lose control if the trumps are not 3-3, it looks as though a diamond should be conceded. You might try winning the spade in hand, drawing two rounds of trumps, then playing ace, king and another diamond. But East unsportingly discards his last spade and, however declarer wriggles, the defenders come to two tricks.

Give up? After the two top trumps, what about conceding the first diamond trick? The defenders win and lead spades. Bingo! The diamonds are established and there is still an entry to the table.

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