ETCETERA / Bridge

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The Independent Culture
IT IS fashionable nowadays to open weak twos without anything like the standard qualifications (a good six-card suit, little outside, short of an opening bid of one). North's hand here lacked a sixth card in his suit. The bid, designed to set the opponents problems, was not what South wanted to hear . . .

North opened Two Spades and his partner explored with a forcing Two No-trumps. On hearing that North was minimum, he plunged to Six Hearts, against which West led the queen of diamonds.

The play was soon over. Declarer won and drew trumps. West was careful to discard his two spades so, when South tackled the suit, East had no trouble in holding off on the first round. Now South lost a club at the end. It might have been better to try a spade before drawing trumps but, when West begins a peter by following with the five, East can hardly go wrong.

Six Spades might well have succeeded, for it is only beaten by an unlikely heart lead, but South should have made his Six Hearts. He should have realised the futility of the line he adopted and instead played for East to hold at most three diamonds and two clubs.

The play goes like this. After winning the lead and drawing trumps, declarer cashes his minor-suit winners. Only then does he lead a spade. East with no clubs left) must hold off but, instead of persisting with spades, South ruffs dummy's last diamond. This leaves East with nothing but spades, and a second lead of the suit by declarer ensures the contract.

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