BRIDGE

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The Independent Culture
IN spite of a combined holding of 28 points and a kindly adverse trump position, South still has to work hard to make Four Hearts on this deal. Indeed, he only succeeded after a defensive error - but it was an error that many players would make.

South opened One Club, North responded One Diamond, and South rebid One Heart. North raised directly to game and all passed. West led the jack of spades against Four Hearts and it was clear to declarer that the duplication of values in spades meant that there was work to be done. After winning in hand he led a low trump to the king which held - good news! He continued with a low club to the king which lost to the ace - bad news, or was it? West cashed his ace of trumps and got off lead with a second spade. There was now only one chance. South won the spade, cashed his queen of clubs, and ran off four diamond winners to discard a club from hand. Then he exited with a trump to leave East on lead with nothing but spades and forced to concede a ruff and discard.

West was at fault when he took the king of clubs with his ace. It was unlikely that ducking would cost, and, if declar-er's suit was not headed by the king and queen, he would hardly have played it early. If West holds off on the first club lead, South is restricted to nine tricks.

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