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The Independent Culture
DECLARER triumphantly got a complete count of his opponents' distribution on this deal and, as he put it, 'playing to the odds', took a losing finesse in an attempt to make his 10th trick. He had missed a tiny point which would have made his contract a certainty.

South opened One Spade, West overcalled with Two Diamonds and, playing five-card majors, North raised directly to game. West led the ace of diamonds against Four Spades, cashed his king, and led a third round to kill dummy's now established eight.

East ruffed and declarer over-ruffed. He started on trumps and West won the second round, on which his partner parted with a heart. West got off lead with his last trump and again East discarded a heart.

Three rounds of clubs ending in hand revealed that the suit was not breaking evenly, and declarer took stock. East had shown up with two spades, two diamonds and four clubs and therefore had started with five hearts to his partner's two. These seemed good odds to South and, after crossing to the ace of hearts, he finessed the jack only to lose to West's doubleton queen.

Unlucky perhaps, but suppose South had played off his last trump, discarding a heart from dummy, before touching hearts? East must keep his jack of clubs and now both defenders are down to only two hearts. What is more, declarer knows this and can cash his two hearts in complete confidence.


S J 10 7

H A 8 5

D 8 5 4

C A K 7 2


S A 5 4

H Q 3

D A K 7 6 3 2

C 9 5


S 6 3

H 10 7 6 4 2

D 10 9

C J 10 6 4


S K Q 9 8 2

H K J 9


C Q 8 3