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It is rare that a good rubber bridge player is a good match-point pairs player and vice versa. There was an amusing side to this deal where an inveterate rubber player was roped in to make up the numbers in a duplicate event.

The bidding followed much the same route at all tables. East opened One Heart, South overcalled with One Spade, and North bid Two Hearts (an unassuming cue-bid, promising the high card values for a raise to at least Two Spades). It was easy for North-South to reach Four Spades.

West led the eight of hearts and East followed with the nine. It all looked too easy to the majority of declarers. Their plan was simple -- cash the second top heart and cross-ruff, collecting an easy eleven tricks unless, perhaps, West held only two hearts and both the seven and eight of trumps.

It did not go quite like that, for West unsportingly ruffed the second top heart. After that he was able to trump any further heart leads with his seven and eight of spades and now, with two losers in clubs, declarer was held to nine tricks.

What happened to our rubber bridge player? He concentrated on making his game - what does the odd overtrick matter? I hope you spotted the safety play that he adopted. At trick 2 he led a low heart. Now he was able to ruff his other heart loser with dummy's jack, draw trumps and claim his contract for a neat top score.



] J 6 3

_ 6 4

+ A K 6 4

[ Q J 7 3

West East

] 8 7 5 4 ] 2

_ 8 _ Q J 10 9 5 3

+ J 9 7 5 + Q 10 3

[ 9 8 6 4 [ A K 10


] A K Q 10 9

_ A K 7 2

+ 8 2

[ 5 2