Bridge: Neat solution to British weather

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The Independent Culture
IF YOU are disenchanted with the British weather, one of the best ways of escaping is to visit the Marbella Bridge Congress. Then, while you are playing, it does not matter whether it is raining outside or not. The following is a deal from the team event last year.

East-West game: dealer East


7 4

A 10 2


K J 10 7 5 3


10 6 2

K Q 6

Q J 5 3

Q 8 4


A Q J 9 8 5


10 9 7 6 2



K 3

J 9 8 7 5 4

8 4

A 9 2

East opened Two Spades (weak) and West raised preemptively to Three Spades. North bid Four Clubs, South tried Four Hearts and all passed.

West led the two of spades to his partner's ace and, although East considered a club switch, he returned a spade to South's king. As you can see, declarer can make 11 tricks if he gets both the trumps and the clubs right, but in practice he played the ace and another trump to lose two tricks in the suit. When he subsequently played for the drop in clubs, he ended one off.

Now, what was the best way of playing the hand to eliminate guesswork? There is a neat solution. After winning with the king of spades, declarer should cash the ace and king of diamonds and lead a low trump from dummy. If East can win this trick, he is end-played - forced to lead a trump or a club, or concede a ruff and discard. If, as the cards lie, West wins and exits with a low trump, declarer finesses. If the finesse wins, a good view in clubs will land an overtrick,while if East is able to win he is end-played as before.

Marbella Bridge Congress, 8 - 12 December. Details from Desmond Deery, tel 010 34 52 820669.