ETCETERA / Bridge

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ONE OF the most infuriating things in bridge is when your opponent does the right thing for completely the wrong reasons. This was a recent example where declarer appeared to ignore all the obvious clues.

North opened One Diamond. After a pass by East, South intrepidly responded One Spade. He must have been worried when the auction continued Two Hearts by West, Four Spades by North, Five Hearts by East and, after two passes, Five Spades by North.

As the cards lie, Six Hearts would have been a cheap save for East West, but at pairs it is bad policy to sacrifice against contracts that are by no means certain.

South's fears were alleviated when West led the king of hearts and dummy appeared. At least he was in business] He ruffed on the table (East intelligently following with the queen), and led a trump to the king and ace. Without apparent thought West switched to a low club and declarer was faced with a horrid guess.

West had held the ace and king of hearts and the ace of spades, yet had shown no interest whatsoever in doubling Five Spades. Nine players out of 10 would have played low from dummy, expecting to find the ace with East and hoping to find the queen with West, but this particular declarer went up with dummy's king and had an easy 12 tricks.

West felt peeved. 'Why the king?' he asked in a strained voice. 'Well, this is a pairs competition,' replied South. 'If the king wins I make an overtrick, but if East has to win with the ace, I am held to my contract]'

I was the aggrieved West, and conceding 680 points did not represent a good score.

North

S. Q 10 8 4

H. None

D. A K Q J 9 2

C. K J 4

South

S. K 9 7 6 5 3

H. 8 5 3

D. 10 4

C. 10 8

West

S. A J

H. A K 10 9 3

D. 6 5 3

C. A 7 2

East

S. 2

H. Q J 7 6 4

D. 8 7

C. Q 9 6 5 3

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