BRIDGE / A prickly pair

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The Independent Culture
NEXT WEEK, the Macallan Pairs Championship in London will provide a chance to watch some of the world's leading pairs in action. This was a deal from a similar event.

Game all; dealer West


Q 9 8 7

A 5 4

A 6 5



K J 10


K Q J 10 8 2

8 4


6 2

K 10 6 3 2

9 3

9 6 3 2


A 5 4 3

9 8 7

7 4

A 10 7 5

West opened One Diamond, North doubled and South jumped to Two Spades. North raised to Three Spades and South went on to game.

West led the king of diamonds against Four Spades, and a glance at dummy suggested to South that this was undoubtedly going to be an easy hand.

All he needed was to find the missing trumps 3-2 and the king with West - likely enough after his opening bid. To avoid a possibly damaging switch to hearts, declarer won the opening lead and continued with a spade to his ace. Thinking quickly, and realising that whatever happened, he was bound to make one trump trick.

West followed with the king] Assuming that the king was singleton and placing East with all the missing trumps, declarer decided that his only hope lay in some sort of end-play against East, in which he would be forced to lead away from his supposed jack, ten and six of trumps.

To prepare the ground, he had to find East following to four rounds of clubs, but he had a nasty shock when West ruffed the third with the ten of trumps.

You can see the sequel - West cashed a diamond and continued the suit for East to score a trick with his six of spades. As a heart loser was inevitable, the contract failed by one trick.

The Macallan Pairs, The White House Hotel, Albany Street, London NW1. Wednesday 26 Jan at 7.30pm, Thurs 27 at 11.30am, Fri 28 at 2.00pm. Admission pounds 7.50 per session, pounds 20 season.