Games: Bridge

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] 6 5

_ A K 8 6 4

+ K Q 10 5 3

[ 2

] none

_ J 9 5 3

+ 9 8 7 2

[ K Q 10 9 5

] K 10 3 2

_ Q 10 7 2

+ 6

[ 8 7 4 3

] A Q J 9 8 7 4

_ none

+ A J 4

[ A J 6

North-South bid efficiently enough to reach a good slam on this deal but declarer suffered after missing a tiny point in the play. In fairness, quite a few players might have made the same slip.

North opened One Heart and South forced to game with Two Spades. North showed his diamonds and South repeated his spades. Appreciating that his partner had forced with a long, strong suit and had no great support for the red suits, North raised to Four Spades. Still interested in a possible grand slam, South cue-bid Five Clubs but the response of Five Hearts (facing his void) was discouraging. However, he pressed on with Five No-trumps but, on finding that the king of spades was missing, settled for Six Spades.

West led the king of clubs against the slam and declarer won. It all looked too easy - he crossed to a top diamond and discarded his losing clubs on the ace and king of hearts. Then he turned his attention to the trumps but now he ran into a problem. Should he finesse or put up the ace and continue the suit? As you can see, when West showed out, it did not matter! To avoid two trump losers he had to reach dummy again and East was unkind enough to ruff when the diamonds proved to be 4-1. Now there was no way to prevent East from scoring a second trump trick.

How should South have played? A change in timing would have made the difference. Try cashing the ace of spades before rushing to take discards. The trump position is exposed and, after crossing to a diamond and throwing the losing clubs, only one trump lead from dummy is needed to hold the losers in the suit to one.

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