Games: Bridge

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dealer South


4J 7 4

!8 4

#K Q J 6 3

28 3 2

West East

410 9 8 6 45 3 2

!Q 10 7 3 !J 9 6

#9 5 4 #A 10 8

2Q 5 2J 10 9 6


4A K Q

!Q J 10 7 5 3


2A Q 3

ON THIS deal from a pairs competition, most Souths suffered the indignity of going down in Three No-trumps in spite of the partnership's combined posses- sion of 30 points. Plus, the opponents had no long suit to run - there were only eight tricks. Two declarers succeeded, however, by employing a simple deception that, though easily overlooked, made it difficult for the opponents to judge the situation accurately.

South opened Two Clubs (conventional) and rebid Two No-trumps to show a balanced 23-24 points over North's negative response of Two Diamonds. Without a care, North raised to game and West led 410 against Three No- trumps.

The play usually followed a simple course - declarer won, led a diamond to the king (which, of course, was allowed to win), came back to hand with a club, and tried another diamond. By now West had followed with the four and five and was therefore marked with a third diamond. So East took his ace and now, when the adverse clubs proved to be 4-2, the contract had to fail.

How did the successful declarers do it? They managed to scramble their opponents' length signals. At trick two, #7 (not #7) went to the four, king and eight.

But now, when the queen was led to the next trick, East had a problem. Had his partner started to peter (to show a doubleton) with #4 2, when another hold-up would be best? Or was South concealing the two?

At teams play or rubber bridge East should hope for the best; surely the only real chance of defeating Three No-trumps lay in restricting declarer to one diamond trick. But, at pairs, winning the diamond prematurely could be costly.