Bridge: Left feeling low

SOME players favour the style of leading the lowest card from three small (which has the advantage of clarifying for partner whether the lead is from a doubleton or a worthless trebleton) but the method has its drawbacks.

One of these was illustrated on this deal from the recent Philip Morris European Mixed Championships in Barcelona.

Game all; dealer South

North

K Q J 8

J 4

6 2

A 10 8 5 2

West

none

K 10 8 3

A Q J 10 9 3

9 7 3

East

9 7 6 5 4

Q 9 7

8 7 4

J 4

South

A 10 3 2

A 6 5 2

K 5

K Q 6

South opened One No-trump and, after a pass by West (]), North explored with a Stayman Two Clubs (guaranteeing at least one four card major suit). South responded Two Hearts but, after North's return to Three No-trumps, was able to switch to Four Spades, confident that a fit had been found.

West led the three of clubs and the declarer (Kee Tammens of the Netherlands) won the king. He followed with the ace of spades to discover the bad trump break. Although he would still be all right if East held the ace of diamonds, he decided to try a little deception first in the hope of improving his chances. He crossed to dummy by leading the six of clubs to the ace and followed with the five from the table.

Convinced that his partner had led from CQ973, East discarded a diamond but it was South who turned up with the queen of clubs. Now it was all over - a trump to dummy was followed by winning clubs. If East ruffed he would be over-ruffed and his remaining trumps drawn. Of course, if East had ruffed the third round of clubs instead of discarding, a diamond return would have left South with three more sure losers.

Three No-trumps by South would have been remarkably easy, but there would have been no story.

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