ETCETERA / Bridge

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The Independent Culture
SOUTH made a curious play in his slam contract on this deal. What made it even more curious was his subsequent explanation.

A well-judged sequence led North-South to the excellent contract of Six Clubs. West led the ten of clubs and a look at dummy suggested an easy run. Declarer aimed to ruff both of his losing hearts on the table and lose only one trick in diamonds.

After winning with dummy's jack of trumps, however, East's discard of a heart posed problems, for it was now impossible to take a second heart ruff without sacrificing a trump trick. The 12th trick had to come from the diamond suit, and this might well involve guessing who held the ace and who the queen.

The normal play would be to lead the jack from hand. Easy now if West held both honours, equally easy if East held both (after the jack has lost to the queen, a ruffing finesse gives a discard), but only offering a 50 per cent chance of guessing right if the missing honours are divided.

Instead declarer led the two from dummy at trick 2] This wins (via the ruffing finesse) if East holds both honours or just the ace, but loses if West holds both honours or if the cards lie as they do. In practice East sleepily played low on the lead of the two and South was home when his jack lost to the ace.

Quizzed, South replied that as he always guessed wrongly in even-money situations, his play gave him a better chance, as no guesswork was involved]

Perhaps East should have asked himself why declarer was in such a hurry to play on diamonds, but you cannot argue with success.

Game all; dealer South

North

A 7 4 2

6 5

K 10 3 2

West

Q 9 5

Q 10

A 9 7 4

10 9 8 7

East

J 10 8 6

J 9 8 4 3

Q 8 6 5

none

South

K 3

A K 7 2

J

A Q 6 5 3 2

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