Independent Pursuits: Bridge

ON THIS deal West achieved something of a triumph when he chose a good moment to open with a distinctly sub-standard pre-emptive bid. South ended in an inferior contract and followed by missing the spectacular play that would have repaired the damage.

West opened Three Clubs and, after two passes, South had a problem. He started with a double but his partner's response of Three Spades did not really help. With a choice between Four Hearts (which would have been an easy contract) and 3 no-trumps, he chose the latter (which was not).

Although a club lead would have given South no chance, West was afraid that a lead away from his king might cost a vital trick and he selected the six of spades for his opening salvo, which at least gave declarer some breathing space. He tried a tempting ten from dummy but East did not oblige and South won in hand. There seemed nothing for it but to hope that East held both the ace and king of hearts and had started with at most two clubs. Accordingly South made a start on hearts. He held off on East's club return but West won and cleared the suit.

Now, when East got in with his other top heart, he was unkind enough to produce a third club...

Have you spotted the brilliancy that South had missed? As long as he assumes that West holds the king of clubs, all should have been well. After winning the first trick with 4J, he follows with the king and overtakes with dummy's ace. Then he leads the ten of spades and - wait for it! - discards his ace of clubs! Now, if the defenders attack clubs, dummy's queen is an entry to the two spade winners; if they never lead clubs, South has plenty of time to establish the tricks he needs by playing on hearts.

North-South game; dealer West

North

4A 10 9 8 7

!6 3

#9 7 6 2

2Q 2

West East

46 2 4Q 5 4 3

!7 4 2 !A K 5

#10 5 #8 4 3

2K J 10 9 7 5 28 6 3

South

4K J

!Q J 10 9 8

#A K Q J

2A 4

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