Bridge: Falling into the tender trap

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The Independent Culture
IN A recent pairs event one hand proved something of a rarity - the bidding and result (failure in Three No-trumps) were the same at nearly all the tables. One declarer, however, set a trap into which West fell.

Love all; dealer East


S. 8 5 3 2

H. 5 2

D. 10

C. J 10 9 7 6 5


S. K J 10 9 7

H. 10

D. A 5 4 3 2

C. Q 8


S. Q

H. K J 9 8 7 6 3

D. Q J

C. 4 3 2


S. A 6 4

H. A Q 4

D. K 9 8 7 6

C. A K

East opened Three Hearts and South's natural bid of Three No- trumps ended the auction. West led the ten of hearts and, after winning and surveying dummy, most declarers led a diamond.

East won and cleared the hearts, but although South found the correct play of leading the king of diamonds next (finding the ace alone would not have helped) successfully pinning East's queen, this still led to only eight tricks.

How did the successful declarer tackle matters? After winning the heart he played off the ace and king of clubs, dropping West's queen. With no entry to the winning clubs he did not seem to have achieved much but when he followed with the well- chosen nine of diamonds, West had a problem.

Was it possible that South held K Q J 9 in diamonds and was about to sneak in an entry to the table? Reasoning this way West went in with the ace of diamonds and suddenly, declarer's diamond suit had blossomed into four winners.

East appealed to me afterwards - was his play (with which his partner was unimpressed) really so terrible? Diplomatically I told him that I would have played in just the same way.