BRIDGE

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I enjoyed reading Play These Hands With Brian Senior. It contains a lot of good material. My only problem was for which market to recommend it - certainly not beginners, and I am not convinced that even regular players would grasp all the subtleties. Ah well, this was one hand with some excellent points.

Playing, at this vulnerability, a strong no-trump, Brian had little option but to open One Heart. West joined in with 2NT (suggesting at least 5- 5 in the minors) and the final contract was Four Hearts.

West led the ten of spades. It was a mixture of bad and good news. Obviously, it was the defenders' best shot, but the speed at which it had been led strongly suggested that it was a singleton. (Yes, it is perfectly acceptable for declarer to take advantage of interferences of this sort - at his own risk!). The good news was that, if it were a singleton spade, the trumps might well be 2-2. The bad news was that West was almost certain to hold both minor suit kings.

Declarer got there rather neatly. After winning the opening lead and drawing trumps in two rounds, he led a diamond to the nine. West did his best by exiting with his king of diamonds but declarer smoothly allowed him to hold the trick. When a rather gloomy West led another diamond, it was not difficult for Brian (remembering the bidding) to finesse the seven for ten tricks, aided by a club ruff.

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