Games: Bridge

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The Independent Culture
"Two finesses wrong and the clubs didn't behave!" complained South after this deal. "The trouble is, partner, that we bid too well!" Certainly their bidding was more than adequate but South's play left room for improvement.

No modernist, South opened with an Acol Two Spades. North responded Three Clubs and South rebid spades. Now North cue-bid Four Diamonds and South co-operated with Four Hearts. North's jump to Six Spades then ended the auction.

West led the two of diamonds against the slam and it was clear that the contract was an excellent one. Declarer started by trying dummy's queen but the finesse lost. At this point East did well to return a diamond, removing an entry from the table, rather than the more obvious heart. After winning with the ace of diamonds, declarer tested the clubs - he cashed the ace and king and ruffed a club high. No joy, the queen had not appeared, and all that was left was to cash the two top spades, ending in dummy, and fall back on the heart finesse.

Can you see a better approach to the play? Perhaps only marginally better but with the great virtue of succeeding ... Suppose that declarer simply plays low from dummy at trick 1 - East wins with his jack but clearly cannot return the suit. Say that he switches to a heart - South wins with his ace and follows with three rounds of clubs as before. Then the ace of spades and another to dummy's king allows another club to be ruffed high and, after drawing the last trump, the ace of diamonds is still in dummy as an entry to the long club.

GAME ALL; dealer South

] K 5

_ Q J 6

+ A Q 3

[ K J 9 7 4


] 8 7 6

_ K 10 8 4

+ 10 8 6 2

[ 8 2


] 3

_ 9 7 3 2

+ K J 7 5

[ Q 10 5 3


] A Q J 10 9 4 2

_ A 5

+ 9 4

[ A 6