Bridge: Yet another hard-luck story

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BRIDGE is a game in which hard-luck stories proliferate. I felt particularly sorry for West on this deal from a pairs event where, in spite of finding an inspired defence to beat a vulnerable game, he ended with a below average score.

North-South game; dealer South


C Q 9 5

H K 7 2

D A Q J 9 5

S K 3


K 4

A Q 10 9 3

4 3

Q 10 9 2


7 3 2

8 6

K 10 6 2

J 7 6 5


A J 10 8 6

J 5 4

8 7

A 8 4

After two passes West opened One Heart and North, with Two Diamonds as a reasonable alternative, chose to overcall with One No-trump.

South forced to game with Three Spades and, with only a single guard in hearts, North bid Four Spades.

West led the ten of clubs and, after winning in dummy (East signalling with the seven), declarer took a trump finesse.

West won and stopped to think. It seemed clear that the defenders had no more tricks to come in the black suits and that East held

the king of diamonds - remember that South had passed as dealer.

It was, therefore, necessary to look for two tricks in the hearts.

It was possible that East held a singleton heart but West judged well when he played his partner for two cards in the suit. He found just the right switch - the queen of hearts. Now it was all over. Dummy's king won but the diamond finesse had to be taken and, when it lost, a heart came back for West to collect two tricks in the suit.

Why was this a poor result? At most other tables South had simply raised to game in no-trumps. East led a heart and, although declarer could have settled for one off by playing on spades, it seemed popular to play on diamonds - and this led to a two-trick defeat.