Bridge: A fair play

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The Independent Culture
DECLARER made a fair try for this tenth trick on this week's deal, but the defenders were not hard put to scotch his plan. An alternative - an easily missed loser-on- loser play - would have succeeded rather elegantly.

North-South game; dealer West


Q 9 5


Q 10 9 7 6 3

K J 4


4 3

Q 10 9

A K J 2

10 9 8 6


8 2

A K J 8 7

8 5

Q 7 3 2


A K J 10 7 6

6 4 3 2


A 5

After two passes, East opened One Heart and South overcalled with Two Spades. West doubled negatively to show values in the unbid suits, but North's bid of Four Spades was passed out.

West led the ace of diamonds and made a good switch to a trump. After winning on the table, declarer made sure of at least one heart ruff by leading a heart. East won with the king and returned a second trump.

Now there were only nine tricks in sight, and the tenth could come from a club finesse (unlikely to be right after East's opening bid) or a possible end-play. With the second idea in mind, declarer ruffed a heart in dummy, came back to hand with a diamond ruff and cashed the ace of clubs and his remaining trumps.

On the last trump, East shrewdly threw his ace of hearts in order to keep J H, Q and 7 C. With a hopeful look South exited with a heart, but it was West who was able to win, and he cashed the king of diamonds for the setting trick.

It was the right idea, but the wrong end-play. Try the effect of discarding a diamond from dummy on the second heart instead of ruffing. Say West wins and switches to the ten of clubs. Declarer wins with his ace, finally takes a heart ruff, returns to hand by trumping a diamond, and plays off the rest of his spades.

At the end, West has to keep the king of diamonds, and East the ace of hearts, which means neither can retain two clubs.