Independent Pursuits: Bridge

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The Independent Culture
ON THIS deal from match-play, one South had what can only be described as a death wish. His counterpart, on the other hand, could see no problem on the hand. In the odd way that these things go, it was the team of the unsuccessful declarer who ran out comfortable winners of the match.

The bidding and opening lead were the same at both tables - South opened One Spade, West overcalled with Two Clubs and, after some preliminaries, North raised to game and West led the ace and another heart against Four Spades.

It seemed fairly clear that West was angling for a heart ruff. With no great enthusiasm one South won in hand and simply led a trump. Now it was easy for the defence - East won, gave his partner the expected ruff, and now West exited safely with a diamond. In the fullness of time, when the club finesse failed, declarer lost a fourth trick and the contract.

At the other table, South was more far-sighted. Correctly he judged that it would be dangerous to play trumps immediately and he started with the ace and king of diamonds and then ruffed a diamond, before playing a trump. As before, East won, but now had a problem. Would it be better to lead a club or give his partner the required heart ruff? He thought for so long that South, tired of waiting, faced his cards and claimed. On a club return, he explained, he would win with the ace, draw trumps, and gracefully concede a club. If, on the other hand, East gave his partner the expected ruff, then West, on lead, would have to lead a club into South's tenace. His claim was a little premature - just conceivably West might have held a fourth diamond or even a third trump - but all was well and his opponents had to concede.

North-South game;

dealer South


4Q 10 7 4

!K J 6

#A K 9 2

25 2

West East

45 2 4A 3

!A 3 !9 8 7 5 2

#Q 10 8 #J 7 5 3

2K J 10 9 7 3 28 4


4K J 9 8 6

!Q 10 4

#6 4

2A Q 6