ETCETERA / Bridge

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The Independent Culture
ANYTHING on the play of the cards by Terence Reese is well worth reading, and The Extra Edge in Play (Gollancz pounds 6.99), co-authored by Julian Pottage, is no exception. Every deal illustrates a way, often not at all obvious, for declarer to improve his chances.

The hands may be constructed, but they are highly practical and rarely involve the complex squeezes that no one foresees in real life. This deal caught my eye.

Three No-trumps might be a make if declarer judges (depending on the lead) which red suit to tackle first, but the final contract is a perfectly reasonable Four Hearts, against which West leads the king of clubs.

How would most players tackle the hand? They would win and start on trumps. When East takes his ace he returns a club, and declarer ruffs. To his annoyance, South finds that he must use all his remaining trumps to draw West's and now, when the diamond finesse loses, the contract fails by two tricks.

Try the effect of ducking the opening lead. This costs nothing, for later the losing spade will go away on the ace of clubs, but look at the effect on the play] After winning the club continuation, declarer starts on trumpsm but now when East takes his ace he has no more clubs left with which to force.

In complete control, South can draw the remaining trumps and take the diamond finesse safely, with an overtrick in sight should it succeed.

North

S. K 8 3

H. 7 2

D. J 9 3

C. A 6 5 3 2

South

S. A 7 4

H. K Q J 10 9

D. A Q 10 8

C. 10

West

S. 9 6

H. 8 6 5 3

D. K 4

C. K Q J 9 7

East

S. Q J 10 5 2

H. A 4

D. 7 6 5 2

C. 6 4

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