ETCETERA / Bridge

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The Independent Culture
IF YOU find yourself doubled in a hair-raising contract, you are often faced with a difficult choice - to go quietly with a view to minimising the penalty or stage an all-out attempt to make, risking a far larger penalty if the cards lie badly for you.

East opened One Spade and, with an awkward bid, South elected to double. This would not have been the choice of many players and it led to trouble when West raised to Two Spades and North, expecting better support for the unbid major, essayed Three Hearts. South tried Three No- trumps, North advanced to Four Clubs, and the final contract was Five Diamonds, doubled by West. The opening lead of the ten of spades went to the queen and ace. In an effort to scramble what he could, declarer ruffed a spade in dummy, came back to hand with the king of clubs, and ruffed his last spade. Then he tried a heart to the king but, when West turned up with the ace, the result was a two-trick defeat.

If South had been prepared to take risks, he could actually have made his contract after escaping a heart lead. After ruffing the spade at trick two, he finesses the jack of clubs successfully, cashes the king of clubs, and ruffs his last spade. Then he plays off the ace of clubs, discarding a heart, and leads a winning club from dummy. It does not matter whether it is East or West who ruffs this - the defenders are held to only two tricks; a trump and a heart, or two trumps.

And if the jack of clubs had lost to the queen? I will leave you to calculate the subsequent penalty]

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