ETCETERA: BRIDGE

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The Independent Culture
"Count, you idiot, count!" was East's comment at the end of this deal. Everyone was shocked - he had never been known to reproach his partner in such a way. They need not have worried - he was referring to his own defence.

East opened One Heart, South overcalled with One Spade, and North raised to game to end the auction. West led the three of hearts against Four Spades and, with little better to do, East won and continued the suit.

Declarer ruffed the third heart and drew trumps in to rounds with the ace and queen. He continued by running the nine of clubs to East's jack. As a heart lead would concede a ruff and discard and a club would be straight into dummy's ace-queen, East decided to lead a low diamond.

There was the chance that West might hold the queen or that South might misguess. However, declarer went up with the queen and, when this held, could now claim his contract on a cross-ruff.

What did East see, all too late, that prompted his remark? That the apparently foolish club return was in fact safe! South was known to have started with five spades and two hearts - hence he held six cards in the minor suits. However they were distributed, he would not be able to get enough discards on dummy's clubs and East would be bound to come to his king of diamonds at the end.

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