Games: Bridge

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WITH THE high cards evenly distributed between the two sides and plenty of distribution, you would expect keen competition on this deal and you would not be disappointed.

East opened One Diamond and South chose to overcall with One Spade rather than show his clubs. West bid Two Hearts, North raised to Three Spades, and East passed. Although his partner's raise was likely to be pre-emptive, South decided to bid game and West felt that it was now too high for him to compete further. Perhaps he regretted not making a negative double over One Spade and so bringing his clubs into the picture. Although, as the cards lay, his partnership might have been in business in Five Diamonds, he decided to pass. So did East - after all, he had an attractive trump holding for defence ...

West led _K against Four Spades and, after winning in dummy, declarer led a low trump to his queen to reveal the bad break. Next came [A and the fall of East's jack set further problems. A low club was ruffed with dummy's ]K and East, after over-ruffing with his ace, switched to +K.

South saw that if he trumped this and ruffed another club in dummy, East would over-ruff, put his partner in with a heart, and be able to over- ruff dummy again on another club lead. Instead of trumping +K, South discarded his losing heart. Now he was in control and ended by losing only two trumps and a diamond.

On general principles, East was wrong to over-ruff ]K early on. He should have discarded a diamond. There are several variations now but declarer will always be a tempo behind against bent defence. It all left East-West regretting that they had not bid on - even if Five Diamonds had not made, it would have cost less than the adverse game.