ETCETERA / Bridge

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The Independent Culture
WHEN you have a choice of two possible trump suits, one dividing 4-4 and the other 5-3, it usually pays to select the 4-4 fit. This week's deal from match play proved to be an exception for an odd reason.

At one table a delicate and prolonged investigation led to North playing in Six Clubs. East had a natural diamond lead and, after taking their ace, the defenders waited patiently for their inevitable spade trick.

At the other table the auction was less delicate and ended with South as declarer in Six Spades. West, on lead, had a problem. As the cards lie, all he has to do is cash his ace of diamonds and wait for a trump trick. The trouble with cashing an ace immediately against a slam, he argued, was it suggests confidence of making a second trick (in this case the queen of trumps). Then, if a two-way guess for the missing queen proves necessary, declarer might well get matters right.

West's choice of the ten of hearts did not work well. South took his two tricks in the suit, and stopped to think. One possibility, which would fail as the cards lie, was to cash two top trumps and follow with dummy's hearts. Instead he played East for short hearts and long trumps.

Declarer crossed to dummy with a club and, without touching trumps, led hearts. You can see East's problem: if he discarded, South's diamonds would go away. So he ruffed low but, after over-ruffing, declarer was able to draw trumps and lose only one diamond at the end. 'A Devil's Coup without the count]' dummy remarked.

Love all; dealer North

North

S A 10 8

H A Q 5 4

D K 7

C K J 9 6

West

S Q 4

H 10 9 8 7 3

D A 9 3 2

C 5 3

East

S J 5 2

H 6 2

D Q J 10 6 4

C 7 4 2

South

S K 9 7 6 3

H K J

D 8 5

C A Q 10 8

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