Games: Bridge

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] 9 4

_ J 4 2

+ 10 3

[ K J 10 7 5 3


] 7 6 3 2

_ K 7 3

+ A Q J 7

[ Q 2


] A K J 10 8 5

_ A 5

+ K 9 5 2

[ 4


] Q

_ Q 10 9 8 6

+ 8 6 4

[ A 9 8 6

The world's oldest bridge publication is Britain's Bridge Magazine. It contains first-rate reports on events and articles on bidding and play for those wanting to hone their game.

Today's hand is from Barry Rigal's report on the US Team Trials. Optimistic bidding by Roger Bates was justified by his perceptive card reading.

East opened One Diamond and South, Bates, doubled for take-out. West bid One Heart, North Two Clubs and East doubled, to show precisely three hearts. South now bid Three Spades - Two would have been sufficient for most mortals - and North raised to Four Spades.

Had West led _10 the contract could not have been made, but instead he led a diamond. East won, and switched to a heart, to South's ace. Bates played a club, and West rose with his ace and led a heart to East's king. South ruffed the heart continuation, cashed +K, ruffed a diamond, then played [K for a diamond discard - the [Q falling from East.

The percentage play in trumps is to finesse for the queen, but a little counting by Bates made him appreciate that this was not an option. East was known to have four diamonds, three hearts and two clubs - taking [Q as a true card. That leaves space for four spades. Therefore a single finesse would be insufficient to bring the suit home, and his only chance was that the spade queen was singleton in West's hand. He played accordingly, and there it was.

Bridge Magazine (published monthly), 369 Euston Road, London NW1 3AR. Telephone 0171 388 2404; fax 0171 388 2407