Games: Bridge

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The Independent Culture
HAVING BEEN eliminated early in a knockout team event, I found myself watching our conquerors in the next round and wishing they had performed in the same fashion against us. I thought they had bid this deal efficiently, exploring slam chances below the game level. But oh dear! the play . . .

South opened One Spade and North responded Two No-trumps. This agreed spades as trumps, was forcing to game, and invited his partner to show any shortage. A response of Three Diamonds would have been music to North's ears, guaranteeing an excellent fit. South, however, with no shortages, rebid Three Spades - still expressing mild forward-going interest. North cue-bid Four Clubs, South replied in kind with Four Diamonds and, feeling that he had done enough, North signed off with Four Spades to end the auction.

West led 210 against Four Spades and, after drawing trumps in two rounds, declarer tried a heart to the king. This lost to the ace, a diamond came back and, no matter what South tried, there were now four losers in the red suits and the contract failed.

Well, his line of play had given declarer an excellent chance; he had been unlucky to fail. But I felt he might have done even better. After drawing trumps, suppose he leads a low heart from dummy towards his jack? As the cards lie, I expect East to win and return a diamond. South plays low but can now establish a heart trick for a diamond discard. And if !J loses to West's queen? There is still time to try a heart towards the king with a possible diamond finesse in reserve.

Game all; dealer South


4K Q 8 2

!K 6 3

#10 5 2

2A Q 7

West East

47 3 410 5

!10 8 7 5 !A Q 9 4

#K J 8 #9 7 6 3

210 9 8 3 2J 5 4


4A J 9 6 4

!J 2

#A Q 4

2K 6 2