BRIDGE

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The Independent Culture
I found Bridge with a Feminine Touch by David Bird and Simon Cocheme (Gollancz, pounds 6.99) quietly pleasing. Some readers like books populated with fictitious characters. Some do not - I can take them or leave them. The critical factor is whether they contain good material or not, and this one does. For example...

South opened One Heart. West overcalled with One Spade, and North raised to Two Hearts. After a pre-emptive jump to Three Spades by East, South went on to the Heart game and all passed.

West led the king of spades against Four Hearts and declarer won on the table. A finesse of the jack of trumps lost to the king and West switched smartly to the king and another diamond. East took his ace and led a third round to leave South with a problem. He tried the nine of hearts but West was able to over-ruff for the defenders' fourth trick. North, a result merchant, pointed out a winning play by suggesting that declarer should have ruffed the diamond with his ace, then led the nine of trumps to pin East's eight. It really would have been an unlikely effort, but can you see a more sensible way for declarer to have avoided the trump promotion? Diffidently West suggested a solution. At trick 2 declarer should lead dummy's second spade and discard a diamond from hand. This effectively cuts the defenders' communications and reduces their chances of any trump promotion.

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