ETCETERA / Bridge

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The Independent Culture
FIVE DIAMONDS would undoubtedly have been the soundest contract on this deal but, once his partner had shown length in his suit, North became carried away by his gallery of picture cards and advanced to a slam. Playing dangerously but luckily, South actually came in sight of 12 tricks, but missed his way right at the end.

North opened a convention Two Clubs, South responded negatively with Two Diamonds and North rebid Three No-trumps. A pass by South would have escaped criticism, but he showed his long suit and ended in Six Diamonds.

West led the queen of clubs and, after winning in hand, declarer played off three top spades, discarding two hearts from hand. Rather riskily, he ruffed dummy's last spade and must have been relieved when both opponents followed suit. Then he crossed to the ace of hearts and ruffed a heart.

Two top trumps followed but the queen did not fall, so South continued with another heart ruff in hand. Thinking quickly, West, who was down to DQ CJ98, discarded a club without any sign of interest. (If he had over-ruffed he would have had to lead away from his jack of clubs.)

At this point declarer could have succeeded by exiting with his last trump to end-play West, but West's failure to over-ruff persuaded him to place East with the missing queen of trumps. Accordingly he crossed to the ace of clubs and led another heart, hoping to score his jack of diamonds en passant against East's supposed queen. This brought no joy, for West was able to over-ruff and cash his jack of clubs.

North

S A K Q 10

H A J 4 2

D A K

C A 7 5

West

S J 9 7 2

H Q 7

D Q 4 2

C Q J 9 8

East

S 8 6 5 4

H K 10 9 6

D 10 3

C 6 4 3

South

S 3

H 8 5 3

D J 9 8 7 6 5

C K 10 2

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