ETCETERA / Bridge

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The Independent Culture
TEAM PLAY and match-pointed pairs are different animals. If you are playing in a vulnerable game at teams or, for that matter, at rubber bridge, the possibility of overtricks is a secondary consideration when the game might be at risk.

Game all; dealer South

North

S 7 3

H K

D A K 7 5 4 2

C 9 4 3 2

West

K 10 8

Q J 9 8 4

10

J 8 7 5

East

J 9 6

10 6 3 2

J 9 8 3

Q 10

South

A Q 5 4 2

A 7 5

Q 6

A K 6

South opened One Spade, North responded Two Diamonds and South rebid Three No-trumps. All passed and West led the queen of hearts.

We have all been in worse slams and, losing sight of the fact that he was only in game and hoping that six rounds of diamonds might put his opponents to some awkward discards, declarer started with the queen and another diamond. When West showed out on the second round, even game prospects dimmed and (after cashing dummy's second top diamond) the failure of the spade finesse led to an embarrassing eight tricks.

The lead was annoying (taking away dummy's side entry prematurely) but it would have cost nothing to explore the possibilities of the club suit before testing the diamonds. Try the effect of the ace, king and another club immediately. West wins with his jack, but dummy's nine is established and now, irrespective of a favourable diamond break or a spade finesse, declarer has nine tricks.

Of course, if the clubs had not behaved so kindly there would still have been plenty of time to test the diamonds and try the spade finesse.

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