Games: Bridge

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The Independent Culture
You are in Six Hearts and your only chance of making appears to be if East holds the spade king either singleton or doubleton. Yet even though ]K is singleton in the West hand, you should make the contract!

West cashes a top diamond and plays another, which you ruff. Now play the rest of your hearts, discarding two small spades from dummy. Then the three clubs, ending in dummy. In the 3-card ending dummy has ]Q 5 4 opposite your ]A J 7. If East has not discarded a spade, you finesse. But he did. (No-one would discard from Kxx in this position.) Therefore he must have started with four. If they include the king, you're off. So you take your only chance and play to the ace ...

Michael Rosenberg, considered to be the game's greatest technician, claims this as his favourite hand in his book, Bridge, Zia ... and me (pounds 12.95 from Chess & Bridge Ltd, 0171 388 2404). It's a fascinating trawl through his bridge life; and his partnership with the charismatic Zia Mahmood.

The hands are fascinating (but are not for the beginner) and his novel outlook gives food for thought, eg, in competitive auctions he advocates sometimes going slowly - allowing opponents to exchange information may help you place cards when you bid the game you intented to bid all along.

After three passes you open One Spade at favourable vulnerability. Partner bids Two Spades and RHO doubles. Instead of bidding Four Spades immediately, you pass. LHO will now bid, which may assist you in the play when you now bid your game.

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