Bridge: Difficult case for the defence

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SOUTH handled the bad trump break neatly enough on this deal but, as West, I was left with the nagging feeling that the defence could have done better. Having (finally) found the solution I must admit that it would have been difficult for partner to find at the table.

Game all; dealer South


S. 8 2

H. A 8 7 4

D. K 5 4

C. K Q 7 4


S. 10

H. Q 10 9 6 3

D. 9 8 6 3

C. J 10 9


S. J 9 7 3

H. K J

D. Q J 10

C. A 8 6 3


S. A K Q 6 5 4

H. 5 2

D. A 7 2

C. 5 2

South opened One Spade and rebid Three Spades over his partner's response of Two Clubs. North raised to game and against Four Spades I led the jack of clubs to the king and ace.

East switched to the queen of diamonds and, after winning in hand, declarer played off two top trumps to find that there was a loser in the suit as well as three other potential losers. All was not lost - he crossed to the queen of clubs and ruffed a club, then ducked a heart into East's hand.

East returned a trump but, after winning, declarer crossed to the king of diamonds and ruffed the last club. Finally he played the ace and another heart. Now it was all over - if East ruffs, South's losing diamond goes away; while, if East discards, declarer scores his tenth trick with his last trump.

Can you see how the defenders could have countered this coup en passant? East must allow the king of clubs to win the first trick] Now declarer wins his club trick at a time when he cannot ruff anything in hand and, with only two entries to dummy, he can no longer bring off his coup against East.