Bridge: When a good idea is not quite good enough

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FOR some years, reviewers of bridge books have complained about the 'cost per deal' ratio - sometimes nearly pounds 10 for fewer than 50 hands which, no matter how exhaustively they are analysed, seems a bit steep.

A pleasing contrast is Play More Bridge with Omar Sharif (322 pages, 200 deals), published by Pan Macmillan, pounds 5.99. Based on his weekly column hands, Omar's book makes excellent light reading. This deal struck me as having a simple, but easily overlooked point.

South opened Two Spades, North bid Three Clubs, and South showed his hearts. After a spade preference from his partner, South jumped to Six Spades. West led the queen of diamonds and declarer, after winning in hand, very sensibly decided that his best bet was to utilise dummy's long suit. He carefully led the nine of trumps to dummy's queen, and led the king of clubs. When East did not cover, South discarded one of his losing hearts.

It was a good idea, but not good enough. He would still have been all right had the missing trumps divided evenly, but after winning with his ace of clubs, West was able to force dummy with a second round of diamonds. The eight of trumps from the table won, but West still had a trump left and, although two more losing hearts went away on the clubs, he was able to ruff the fourth round.

All South needed to do was discard his diamond on the king of clubs. Then if West persists with diamonds, South can ruff high in hand and draw trumps, ending on the table. Now the rest of the clubs give declarer all the discards he needs.

Game all; dealer South


Q 8 2

8 7 2


K Q J 10 9 3


7 6 4

K J 9

Q J 10 3

A 5 2



10 4

K 9 7 6 4 2

8 7 6 4


A K J 10 9 5

A Q 6 5 3

A 5