Etcetera: Bridge

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The Independent Culture
Four Hearts by North-South would have been a relatively easy affair, but pre-emptive action by their opponents steered South to an inferior game, where he needed a little help from the defence.

West opened Three No-trumps - showing a long but broken minor - and East bid Four Clubs. South joined in with Four Diamonds and was raised to game by his partner. West led the eight of clubs against Five Diamonds and South won East's queen with his ace.

At trick two, declarer crossed to the queen of spades, and led the queen of diamonds to the king and ace. Now there was bad news, when West showed out. It looked as though South was in trouble - unless the heart finesse was right, there seemed to be three losers. (Two hearts and a trump.)

From the bidding it seemed likely that the heart finesse was wrong, so South cashed the ace of spades and crossed to dummy with the ace of hearts. Then he cashed the last top spade (discarding a heart) and ruffed dummy's last club. Finally came a low heart from hand. En route, West had made a tiny slip - he had followed to the first heart lead with his two. Now he was left on lead with his jack of hearts, and was obliged to concede a ruff and discard.

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