BRIDGE

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The Independent Culture
It is curious that sometimes a poor 4-3 fit plays better in a suit contract than a healthier-looking 5-3 one. On this deal from rubber bridge South, playing a weak no-trump and card majors, opened after two passes with One Heart. North responded One Spade and East, having passed originally, doubled to suggest length in the minors. South bid 1NT, now showing 15-17 points, and West tried Two Diamonds. With remarkably little excuse North contested with Two Hearts and - with his poor suit - South took an eccentric view in passing rather than converting to Two spades.

West led the queen of clubs and, before displaying dummy's goodies, North remarked that he hoped he had not been too cautious. Declarer held up on the first trick and won the club continuation. The ace of diamonds was followed by a diamond finesse and the losing club went away on the King of diamonds. Now South led his last club, and after some thought, West discarded a diamond. After ruffing on the table, declarer led the eight of hearts which ran to the four, two and jack. West led a low spade but South won with his queen and played the ace. East ruffed and returned the queen of hearts to smother dummy's ten. This was covered by the King and ace and, after West had cashed his spade trick, South had the last two tricks with his five and seven of trumps. As I said, an odd result, for Two spades would surely have failed.

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