Independent Pursuits; Bridge

AFTER WATCHING his partner go down in Six Hearts on this deal, North suggested that he might have converted to Six Spades which, indeed, he would have made unless East had found the unlikely lead of a heart. South merely grunted - he had just realised that he had missed a neat chance of making his own contract.

South opened Two Clubs and North gave a positive response of Two Spades. Certain of a fair suit opposite, South drove on to Six Hearts but, after the lead of #Q, dummy was something of a disappointment. Declarer won in hand and led 43 immediately but, after West had followed with the eight, it was not difficult for East to hold off and the slam duly failed. It is worth noting that, if declarer draws trumps first, West does well to discard both his spades, after which his partner cannot conceivably go wrong.

Well, that is what happened but, instead of hoping for a complete mis- defence, what was South's genuine chance which would have succeeded as the cards lay?

Try this - win the diamond lead, draw trumps (on which West can discard what he likes), and cash the other top diamond. Then cross to 4K (which East must clearly duck) and ruff dummy's last diamond - the key play. Then cash the two top clubs and lead another spade. East wins but now has nothing but spades to play and dummy is brought back to life. This line of play depends on East holding no more than two clubs and no more than three diamonds - and East would have obliged!

East-West game; dealer South

North

4K Q J 10 9

!7 5

#8 4 2

29 5 4

West East

48 4 4A 6 5 2

!2 !9 6 4 3

#Q J 10 6 3 #9 7 5

2Q 10 8 6 3 2J 7

South

47 3

!A K Q J 10 8

#A K

2A K 2

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