ETCETERA / Bridge

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The Independent Culture
THERE was an interesting battle of wits on this deal, which declarer finally won. The question that arose afterwards was whether the defenders could have been more subtle.

North-South had an unopposed auction: One Club - One Heart; One Spade - Two No-trump; Three Hearts - 3NT.

This left West with a difficult lead. Rather than try a top club in order 'to have a look at dummy' - which might easily lose tempo and advertise the position in the suit - he made the happy choice of the seven of spades. Dummy played low and, after winning with the king, East returned the five to the ten and queen, which was allowed to hold the trick.

At this point West, although he could have cleared the spades, realised that his partner could have no certain entry, and cunningly switched to the seven of clubs. It would have been all too easy to finesse (and lose the next three tricks), but declarer asked himself why West had abandoned the spades. Finally he came to the right conclusion - that West had led from a three-card suit and that East had no entry. So he went up with dummy's queen for his ninth trick.

It is true that if the defenders had continued spades, South might well have played in the same way, but suppose East had returned the nine of spades at trick 2 instead of the five? Now declarer, after winning the third round, might be inclined to play West for the four-card suit and take what he would imagine to be his best chance in diamonds - namely, that West held the jack and East both the ace and king.

Love all; dealer North

North

S A 4 3 2

H A J 4

D K 7

C Q 10 9 8

West

S Q 8 7

H 7 6 5 2

D J 3 2

C A K 7

East

S K J 9 5

H 10 8

D 10 9 8 5

C J 6 2

South

S 10 6

H K Q 9 3

D A Q 6 4

C 5 4 3

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