Games: Bridge

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The Independent Culture
"Did they make 3NT against you on board 23?" "No, we sat out that round." While waiting for the results of the duplicate the question came up twice more, so it seemed worth investigating.

It appeared that at most tables North had opened One Club, East overcalled One Spade and South ended in Three No-trumps. West led the eight of spades and most declarers took the second spade trick. Seven certain tricks were available but the contract could not be made without bringing in the club suit.

It was a mixed standard field, and some players took the simplistic approach of playing ace and another club, to West's king, whereupon 10 tricks rolled in.

At other tables the more astute Wests unblocked their king of clubs under declarer's ace, appreciating that their partner must hold the jack for otherwise why had South not entered dummy and finessed if they held the jack in their own hands in order to keep East, the danger hand, off lead? One declarer crossed to dummy in hearts and led the five of clubs, which a sleepy East followed with the three. Declarer played low, West was forced to win with the king and now there was no defence.

The unluckiest declarer, one of the club's better players, was unfortunate to be opposed by another top pair. When he crossed to dummy and led a small club, East inserted the jack (which, in their partnership methods, also showed the 10) and when South played the ace, West unblocked with the king. Now the contract had to fail.

Curiously, there is a fail-safe line as the cards lie. If South leads a low club from hand to the queen (West holding back the king) and returns a low club from dummy, ducking in hand, this forces West to win with his king.

East West game; dealer North

] 6 5

_ A K J 6

+ A 7

[ Q 9 7 6 5

] K Q J 10 9

_ 9 3

+ 8 6 5

[ J 10 3

] A 7 4 2

_ Q 8 2

+ Q 9 4

[ A 8 4

] 8 3

_ 10 7 5 4

+ K J 10 3 2

[ K 2