ETCETERA / Bridge

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EVERY so often as declarer you find yourself faced with an apparently insoluble problem. On this week's hand, from a recent pairs event in Seville, Desmond Deery (the veteran Irish international) found himself looking at four top losers in his contract of Four Spades. He found an interesting way to sidetrack his opponents.

South opened One Spade and went on to game after his partner's raise to Three Spades. West led the queen of diamonds against Four Spades, and it was manifestly clear to declarer that there were four top losers. How, then, could he create a diversion?

After East had won with the ace, Desmond, sitting South, dropped the king] It was a useless card, for all of his losing diamonds could be ruffed on the table and one discard from dummy could not possibly help.

At trick 2, East switched to a low heart and the jack lost to the king. West returned the eight of hearts to the ace and now East had to balance the chances of finding his partner with the ace of clubs or being able to give him a heart ruff.

As it seemed clear to him (from the play to trick 1) that South was short in diamonds and therefore had length in clubs, then, even if his partner did hold the ace of clubs, there would be no hurry to cash it. Instead, hoping for a ruff, he returned a heart.

Now it was all over. After drawing trumps, South's remaining club went on dummy's winning heart and a cross-ruff gave declarer the rest of the tricks. Yes, West should undoubtedly have cashed the ace of clubs before returning hearts, but that does not detract from Desmond's opportunism.

Game all; dealer South

North

S. K 10 9 7 4

H. 10 9 7 3

D. 2

C. K Q 5

South

S. A Q J 8 6

H. Q J

D. K 5 4 3

C. J 7

West

S. 3 2

H. K 8 4

D. Q J 8

C. A 9 8 3 2

East

S. 5

H. A 6 5 2

D. A 10 9 7 6

C. 10 6 4

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