Independent Pursuits: Bridge

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The Independent Culture
I AM always in two minds about bridge books peopled by fictitious characters. Never mind; the hands in The Rabbi's Magic Trick by David Bird and Ron Klinger (Gollancz, pounds 7.99) are good. And, as Terence Reese once said of a Victor Mollo book, "At least there are no animals in it." There was a good point on this deal.

West opened One Diamond and, after two passes, South doubled. West bid Two Clubs, North tried Two Hearts and South converted to Two Spades. Perhaps reading too much into the sequence adopted by his partner, North raised to game and all passed.

West led 2A against Four Spades, East did his best to encourage with 26, and South followed with 27. From West's point of view, this was all consistent with his partner discouraging with 210,8,6 and declarer false- carding with 2Q,7,5 so, after some thought, he switched to the ace and another diamond. Now South was in business.

The ace of trumps exposed the position in the suit satisfactorily, but it meant that !Q had to be overtaken with the king in order to avoid blocking the suit. The trumps were now picked up without loss and the ace and a low heart saw West follow suit. The decision now was whether to play for the drop of the ten or to finesse the nine.

The only clue lay in West's failure to continue clubs at trick two. With A,K,J,x,x he would have had no problems so presumably he held only four cards in the suit. In which case his distribution might well be 0-4-5- 4, so declarer finessed H9 successfully and claimed. It was a valid point about the clubs, but could, I wonder, West have been 0-3-6-4? Ah, but that would have spoilt the story.

North-South; dealer West


4J 9 6 3

!K J 9 3

#Q 8

29 3 2

West East

4none 4Q 7 5 2

!10 7 4 2 !8 5

#A 10 7 5 3 #9 6 4 2

2A K J 4 2Q 6 5


4A K 10 8 4

!A Q 6

#K J

210 8 7