BRIDGE

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I WAS posed an odd question recently: "Which do you find more annoying - watching your partner mislay a hand you have bid beautifully, or seeing him (at the end) ruin a defence you have orchestrated very carefully?" Without doubt, the latter is more frustrating. For example:

South opened One Heart, West doubled, and North bid Two No trumps - showing a sound raise to Three Hearts. East passed and South jumped to Four Hearts to end the auction. West began well by leading his singleton trump. Declarer drew trumps and followed with a spade from hand. West continued his good start by playing the jack. If he had taken his ace, declarer could have eliminated spades and followed with three rounds of diamonds to force either a favourable club lead or a ruff and discard from West. And if West had only followed suit with the three of spades, a similar ending would have set in after he had been put in with another spade.

Everything was going splendidly for the defence; but when, after winning in dummy with the king, declarer led a low spade, and East sleepily followed suit with a low card, West was forced to win and was end-played as described above.

If only East had won the second spade lead with his ten and pushed a club through, there would have been no story. You can see why West was peeved.

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