Independent Pursuits: Bridge

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THIS WAS an old par contest hand with hidden beauties. Suppose that South plays in Four Spades - how do you rate his chances after West has led 27?

I would imagine that the bidding had started One Heart - One Spade; Two Diamonds - Two Spades. Making one final move, North tried Three Diamonds and, in view of the quality of his suit, South now jumped to Four Spades. The directed lead was indeed 27 and, after taking his two tricks in the suit, East led a third round.

South followed suit perforce and West's natural-looking play was to ruff ahead of dummy with 46. It does not help him for, although this is the third trick for the defence, declarer wins any red suit return in dummy and is able to draw all the remaining trumps with the aid of a simple finesse.

Aha! But West could have set a cunning trap! Suppose that on the third round of clubs he ruffs with 42! Dummy over-ruffs and South comes to hand with a red ace and a ruff in order to lead 4A and 4Q. No good, for East wins with his king and can lead a fourth round of clubs for West to score the setting trick with 49.

Very neat indeed, but South did not have to fall into this tempting trap. When West ruffs the third round of clubs with his 42, declarer simply discards a low red card from the table. Then, as dummy still has a spade left, the trump finesse can be taken and the rest of the trumps drawn without further loss.

I was just about to observe that the whole hand had all the elegance of a constructed deal, when I remembered that it was a constructed deal.

Game all; dealer North

North

44

!A Q 9 7 3

#A K 7 6 4

2K J

West East

49 8 6 2 4K 7

!J 6 2 !K 10 8 4

#Q 9 5 3 #J 10 8

27 2 2A Q 5 3

South

4A Q J 10 5 3

!5

#2

210 9 8 6 4

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