bridge

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Game all; dealer West

North

4 K J 9

! 3 2

# A K 6

2 A K J 10 3

West East

4 A 2 4 6 5 4

! A Q 10 9 8 ! J 7 5

# Q J 9 8 7 3 # 10 4 2

2 none 2 Q 9 5 4

South

4 Q 10 8 7 3

! K 6 4

# 5

2 8 7 6 2

This was not an easy problem for declarer to solve in spite of having all the necessary clues. In practice he failed by one trick and claimed there was no winning line. But was he right?

West opened One Diamond, North doubled (planning to follow with a no- trump bid), and South responded One Spade. West, in spite of his partner's pass, felt that he was worth a jump reverse to Three hearts. With the choice of a possibly inadequate penalty or a dubious leap to game, North bid Four Spades and all passed.

After the lead of the queen of diamonds, declarer played three rounds of the suit, ruffing in hand, then led a sneaky ten of spades. It did not help: West took his ace and exited with a trump. When East got in with the queen of clubs, his heart return scuppered the contract.

Any thoughts? Try letting the queen of diamonds win! The idea is to discard two clubs on top diamonds, then start on trumps. As before, West wins the first round and gets off lead with another spade. The ace and king of clubs are cashed and a ruffing finesse against East's queen establishes two winners.

Was this play far-fetched? Not really, for surely West was 6-5 in the red suits for his vulnerable bidding. All that was needed was to find him with precisely the ace and another trump as well.

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