Bridge: An elegant, classic loser-on-loser play

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The Independent Culture
THIS WEEK'S deal features an elegant play from last year's Romanian teams championship. Ten tricks in a diamond contract were fairly straightforward, but from where did South find his eleventh in his contract of Five Diamonds?

North-South game; dealer East

North

S 8 2

H 2

D A K Q J 4

C A Q J 10 9

West

10

Q 10 9 7 5 3

10 8 2

6 5 4

East

K Q J 9

A K J

7 6

K 8 7 3

South

A 7 6 5 4 3

8 6 4

9 5 3

2

East opened One No-trump (15-17 points). West responded Two Diamonds (a transfer to hearts) and North doubled, showing diamonds. South supported his partner's suit and so became the declarer in Five Diamonds, doubled by East.

West led the ten of spades and, after winning, declarer began with a club to the ace and the queen of clubs.

Eleven tricks would have been easy if East had covered but he played low and South discarded a heart. Next came the jack of clubs; again East withheld his king and again South discarded a heart.

When the next club was led East finally had to play his king.

It would have been tempting to ruff with the nine of diamonds, but fatal as West would score an over-ruff with his ten. Instead declarer discarded his last heart]

It was a classic loser-on-loser play. At last you can see from where the elusive eleventh trick came, for declarer was now able to ruff dummy's two of hearts in his own hand. Now all that remained to do was draw trumps.

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