Bridge: West over-reaches himself

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IF LOOKS could kill this would have been West's last game of bridge, in spite of his finding the best possible lead and making no later mistakes in the play, writes Alan Hiron. This was the story from a recent rubber:

Game all; dealer North


S. J 10 7 4

H. A J 10 9 8 3

D. none

C. K J 7


S. K 9 8 6 5 3

H. 5 4

D. A J 4

C. 6 2


S. A Q 2

H. K 7 2

D. K 10 8 6 2

C. 4 3


S. none

H. Q 6

D. Q 9 7 5 3

C. A Q 10 9 8 5

North opened One Heart, South responded Two Clubs and North raised to Three Clubs (neither East nor West rating their hands worth an overcall). South tried Three Diamonds and North rebid his hearts. It looked natural to raise to game in hearts, but South reasoned that as North had not tried no- trumps he had few wasted values in spades; this explained South's ambitious jump to Six Clubs.

It sounded to West as though South was well prepared for a spade lead so he tried the ace of diamonds. Declarer ruffed in dummy, came to hand by trumping a spade, and ran the queen of hearts. If East had won this there would have been no defence, for the missing trumps divide 2-2 and dummy's hearts give declarer all the discards he needs. So East played low, allowing the queen of hearts to win.

If he thought that the heart finesse was right South might easily have drawn trumps (no matter how badly they divided) and repeated the heart finesse. Then the roof would have fallen in] Instead declarer cashed the ace of hearts, ruffed a heart high, and drew trumps in two rounds ending in dummy. Five heart tricks, six clubs, and one ruff on the table gave him his contract.

Why did South change plans? When the first heart finesse was taken West half-reached across the table as though to gather the trick] No wonder East was not best pleased to see his intelligent ducking play go for nothing.