Bridge: Diversionary tactics in an identical crisis

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The Independent Culture
DEALS where declarer and dummy have identical distributions often prove disappointing in the play. On this hand, although a suit contract offered a legitimate if unsuccessful play, it was the declarer in no-trumps who succeeded.

Love all; dealer South



K J 8 7

K 7 3

A K 3


9 8 7 6 2

6 4 2

J 2

J 10 8


5 3

9 5

Q 10 8 6 4

Q 7 6 5


Q 10 4

A Q 10 3

A 9 5

9 4 2

South opened One No-trump (12-14 points) and North became excited. Some pairs ended in a no-play grand slam, some in Six Hearts, some in Six No-trumps.

In Six Hearts, although apparently faced with a sure loser in both minor suits, the play was to draw just three rounds of trumps, cash the seven side-suit winners, and hope to find either defender with at least five cards in one minor suit and, at most, two in the other. Then, thrown- in in his long suit, he would be forced to concede a ruff and discard. The cards did not oblige and the slam failed.

This was not an option in Six No-trumps, but one declarer staged an interesting diversion. He won the spade lead in hand and led a low club to the eight, three and five. West exited with another spade, but now South continued with a third spade and four rounds of hearts, ending in dummy. East had two easy diamond discards, but what was to go next? I expect you can guess - he parted with another diamond in order to retain (unnecessarily) his club guard, and now declarer was home.

Searching desparately for an alibi, East suggested that, when left on lead, West should have exited with his ten of clubs. As declarer would hardly have played the clubs as he did if he had started with J 9 4 2, East said he would have been able to read the position. Far-fetched maybe, but perhaps he had a point.