ETCETERA / Bridge

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The Independent Culture
IT IS A common fault with players that, when they have a completely useless hand, they lose interest. It is true that none of East's cards on the deal below could have taken a trick, but it should not have been difficult for him to give his partner a count of the deal and so guide him to a successful defence.

----------------------------------------------------------------- Love all; dealer West ----------------------------------------------------------------- North j 6 4 2 10 8 6 10 8 3 8 6 4 West A K 9 K J 5 3 7 4 2 K J 10 East Q 10 8 5 3 9 7 4 2 none 9 7 5 2 South 7 A Q A K Q J 9 6 5 A Q 3 -----------------------------------------------------------------

West opened One No-trump and East responded Two Clubs (Stayman), desperately looking for a safe resting spot. South passed, awaiting developments, and West's response of Two Hearts was passed round to him. To my mind, looking only at the South hand, a bid of Three No-trumps stands out (and would have failed if West had led and continued spades) but South elected to bid Five Diamonds to end the auction.

West started with two top spades and, after ruffing (as the finesses in hearts and clubs were sure to be wrong), declarer used dummy's two trump entries to ruff two more spades high in hand. Then he played off the rest of his trumps. East's first two discards, although well-intentioned, were the twos of hearts and clubs to suggest he held nothing in these suits. On the last trump West had to discard from H K J 3 and C K J 10. He chose to part with the ten of clubs and this proved fatal when declarer played the ace and another club and collected the last three tricks.

East would have been better advised to part with all cards in either suit, playing high-low to show four-card length. Now West (in the picture) can throw a heart and, though end-played for one trick, defeats the contract.

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