ETCETERA / Bridge

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The Independent Culture
THERE was a chapter of accidents on this deal from a recent pairs event. As West remarked gloomily afterwards, his partner's defence had to be perfectly timed in order to allow declarer to get home.

Game all; dealer North

S 6 3

H A K Q

D K Q 10 9 8 6

C A Q

West

A Q 8 7

8 7 6 5

J 2

K 10 9

East

K J 10 5

J

A 5 3

J 7 6 4 3

South

9 4 2

10 9 4 3 2

7 4

8 5 2

North opened Two Diamonds and South responded Two Hearts. It was the start of the rot - some players (South included) use Herbert negatives to Two-bids, some (like North) stick to the old-fashioned Two No-trumps negative. North now invented a bid of Three Clubs and, after South's false preference to Three diamonds, jumped to Four Hearts. In that way he hoped to suggest the lack of a spade control for slam purposes.

All passed, West led the ace of spades and two more rounds of spades forced dummy to ruff. Two top hearts dropped East's jack and declarer continued with the king of diamonds from dummy. East now had a variety of ways of defeating the contract. He could duck and then, whatever declarer tried, a third round of diamonds would lead to a trump promotion for West. Alternatively, East could win the diamond and return either a diamond or a club. Stuck in dummy, declarer would eventually have to play a third round of diamonds and again West would score a trump trick.

What East could not afford to do (but did]) was to win the diamond and force declarer with a fourth spade. South ruffed low, drew the outstanding trumps (discarding the queen of clubs from dummy) and found the diamonds behaving. The spade lead from East proved to be the only way for declarer to gain the lead safely.

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