Games: Bridge

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South got as far as realising that he had two possible lines of play on this deal. The one that he chose, however, could not really be reconciled with his opponents' bidding.

West opened one diamond and, rating his hand as worth only one bid, East raised to two diamonds rather than show his spades - not everyone's choice. South overcalled with four spades, all passed, and West led the ace of diamonds. Declarer ruffed, cashed the ace of spades and continued with the king and another spade. East won and switched to the queen of clubs. South held off for one round and won the club continuation.

At this point declarer had a choice of plays. He could rely on the hearts breaking 3-3, which would allow him to discard a club on the fourth round of hearts, or he could play West for four hearts and four clubs. In the latter case the winning line would be to concede a second trump trick and, as the defenders would not be able to cash their club winner, eventually squeeze West in hearts and clubs. In practice, South decided to rely on the even heart break and so ended with only nine tricks.

There was a clear case for leading the fourth trump and playing for the squeeze. It wins whenever West holds four clubs and either three or four hearts. To lead hearts immediately gains only when both hearts and clubs divide 3-3. Now, think what this would mean - West would have had to have started with seven diamonds and in that case East, with only three diamonds, would most certainly have preferred one spade or one no-trump for his initial response.

Game all; dealer West

] 7 4

_ K Q 6 4

+ 8 6 2

[ 8 7 5 3

] none

_ J 10 8 3

+ A K J 9 5

[ K 10 9 3

] A K 8 6 5 3 2

_ A 5 2

+ none

[ A 6 4

] Q J 10 9

_ 9 7

+ Q 10 7 4 3

[ Q J