ETCETERA / BRIDGE

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The Independent Culture
THERE was a wealth of good material available from the Macallan International Pairs staged in London in January, but this deal in particular caught my eye. A moment's inattention by a defender gave declarer the vital clue he needed.

Living it up, West opened Five Clubs and North doubled. With little room for a cultured auction, South bid Five Spades and North raised to what proved to be a perfectly reasonable slam.

West led the king of clubs against Six Spades and, after winning on the table, South cashed the king of hearts before tackling the trumps. When West showed out on the first round, declarer took the king, cashed the ace of hearts, and ruffed a heart in hand. Then he crossed to the ace of trumps and ruffed dummy's last club before exiting with a trump to East's queen. At this stage East had the choice of opening the diamond suit - which looked dangerous from his point of view - or getting off lead with a fourth round of hearts, which looked completely safe now dummy was out of trumps.

Oddly enough, it was the converse that was true. The 'safe' heart chosen at the table allowed declarer to complete his count of the opponents' hands. West was marked with eight clubs, four hearts and no spades and therefore held a singleton diamond. The king of diamonds, followed by a finesse of the eight, yielded the twelfth trick.

East's only chance was to find his partner with the singleton jack of diamonds. If he returns a low diamond instead of a heart. West's jack appears but declarer cannot be 100 per cent sure who holds the queen. South might have got it right anyway, but West's play made the contract a certainty.

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