BRIDGE

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The Independent Culture
EVERY ONCE in a while I propose to resurrect a hand from history. The bidding on this deal may seem archaic but the play certainly was not. The declarer on this occasion was Dr Paul Stern, great theoretician of the 30s and 40s, and inventor of the Vienna system, now rarely played.

South opened One Club, West overcalled with Two Hearts (always strong on those days!), and North - after starting with a cue-bid of Three Hearts - carried on optimistically to Six Clubs.

West led a passive trump and, at first glance, it looked as though (even if the diamonds behaved) there would be only eleven tricks. The normally futile play of taking ruffs in the long trump hand, however, produced one extra winner. After taking the trump in hand, declarer started by ruffing a heart. He came back to hand with a second trump, ruffed another heart, and used his diamond entries to trump two more hearts. There was still no rush to test the diamonds (although there were now eleven winners in sight) and there was nothing to be lost by ducking a round of spades to correct the timing for a possible squeeze.

You can see the effect - whether West won and led another heart or the defenders continued spades, South's remaining trump found East having to make a fatal discard. He was comprehensively squeezed in spades and diamonds. Very elegant!

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