Bridge: Battle of wits

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The Independent Culture
IT SEEMS rather odd to think that such a simple-looking trump suit of K J 10 8 6 2 facing A 9 3 could provide much scope.

On this deal, both sides made odd-looking plays and it was the defenders who won the battle of wits.

Love all; dealer South


S. 8 7 5

H. A 9 3

D. Q J 10 9

C. 9 6 3


S. K 6 3 2

H. 7 5

D. 8 7 6

C. K 8 4 2


S. Q J 9

H. Q 4

D. K 5 4 3 2

C. Q J 7


S. A 10 4

H. K J 10 8 6 2

D. A

C. A 10 5

South opened One Heart and, after North had raised to Two, South's next bid of Four Hearts was passed out.

With an unattractive lead, West selected the eight of diamonds and East played low. His partner, unlikely to underlead an ace at the best of times, would certainly not have done so after this bidding. South won with his ace and reflected.

It was clear that East held the king of diamonds but, to take advantage of this, two entries to dummy were needed.

At trick two, declarer led the jack of trumps from hand and let it run.

The idea was, that if this lost to the queen, the ace and nine of hearts would provide the two entries, after which the ruffing finesse in diamonds would yield two discards.

The plan would have worked beautifully if East had won with his queen of trumps.

However, the potential of the diamond suit was as apparent to him as it was to declarer and having done his thinking in advance, he let the jack of hearts hold.

If he had hesitated at all before ducking, declarer might well have achieved his two entries by dropping the queen on the second round.

As it was, he finessed the nine confidently and ended with only eight tricks.