BRIDGE

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The Independent Culture
I AM always wary of questions such as "How do you play a suit of K9754 facing QJ53 in dummy?" I started by saying that normally I would lead the queen or low towards the queen to cater for A1082 in East's hand but, catching a glint of triumph in my questioner's eye. I hastily added "Unless I have good reason to suspect that West holds the ace." This was the full deal.

West opened One Heart, North doubled, and East pre-empted to the limit with a raise to Four Hearts. South tried a Blackwood Four No-trumps, West compete further with Five Hearts, and North's pass conventionally showed one ace. South jumped to Six Spades and all passed.

West led the king of hearts against the slam and it should have been clear to declarer that, for West to have any sort of opening bid, he must hold the ace of spades. Nevertheless, without really thinking (and perhaps jubilant at having reached a good slam in the face of the enemy barrage), declarer started spades by leading low to the queen. There was no escape and West came to two trump tricks.

Once having placed West with the ace of trumps, declarer should have started by leading the king from hand. West takes his ace and, say, leads another heart. Now South, knowing the trump position, can ruff and using the king of diamonds as another entry to hand, pick up West's remaining trumps with two finesses.

North-South game: dealer West

North

] Q J 6 3

_ 3 2

+ A J 10 3

[ K J 4

West East

] A 10 8 2 ] None

_ K Q 10 8 5 4 _ J 9 7 6

+ Q 9 2 + 8 7 6 4

[ None [ 9 8 7 6 2

South

] K 9 7 5 4

_ A

+ K 5

[ A Q 10 5 3

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