Bridge

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The Independent Culture
A READER asks why my column includes so few part scores. There are two reasons: rubber bridge devotees attach far less significance to them than games or slams, and often there are too many variations for the deal to be fully analysed. To redress the balance, here is what proved a critical deal in a recent pairs event.

North

S. 5 4 3

H. J 5 2

D. A 4 2

C. K Q 8 6

South

S. Q J 8 7 2

H. K 7 6 3

D. Q 5

C. J 4

West

S. K 9 6

H. A Q 9

D. K J 10 6 3

C. A 5

East

S. A 10

H. 10 8 7

D. 9 8 7

C. 10 9 7 3 2

West opened One Diamond and, after two passes, South bid One Spade. West tried One No-trump and North's raise to Two Spades ended the auction.

With an unattractive lead West did well to choose the six of spades. East won and returned the nine of diamonds to the five, three and ace. Declarer played a second round of trumps and the queen lost to the ace. Still unsure of the diamond position (South's queen might still be protected), West played a trump.

After winning, declarer led the jack of clubs, which held, but mistakenly continued with another club. West won and was forced to lead the diamond king. All went well when the queen fell. You can see the sequel: with two heart entries West was able to play a forcing game in diamonds and South ended with only six tricks and a loss of 200 points for a poor match-point score.

Once the jack of clubs has won, playing a second club simply lost a tempo. Declarer should have realised that, after East's failure to respond to One Diamond, West held both missing heart honours. If he had led a low heart at this point he could have established two tricks in the suit. Losing only 100 points would have led to an excellent score, as most East- West pairs collected more than 100 in diamond or no- trump part-scores.

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