Independent Pursuits: Bridge

IT SHOULD have been a simple exercise in communication play, but East took his eye off the ball, and, as a result, South made a doubled game that should have failed.

North opened One Club and East, not vulnerable, overcalled with One Diamond, not with any serious intentions, but to suggest a lead if South became declarer. This seemed to have worked well when South bid 1NT, West passed and North raised to 3NT (there was little point in him bidding spades for with four South would not have chosen 1NT).

When this came round to West, he doubled to end the auction. The double was perhaps a little unwise, for it seemed North-South were short of points and might be relying on a long club suit. It should, however, have worked out well.

West led #2 against 3NT doubled, East won with his king and returned a low diamond. When South's nine brought the queen from West, it was all over. With no entry to the long diamond in East's hand, the defenders had to be content with three diamond tricks and a heart.

In view of the total lack of outside entries to East's hand, the winning defence should not have been too difficult to find. East must play #10, not the king, on the opening lead. This would be correct even if West's diamonds were as good as Q 9 2. South may win with #J but cannot run more than eight tricks. As soon as he loses the lead, the defenders are in a position to take five tricks.

North-South game; dealer North


4A 10 7 6

!K 10


2A K J 7 6 4

West East

4K 9 3 4J 8 4

!A 7 4 3 !9 8 6 2

#Q 8 2 #A K 10 6 3

29 8 2 25


4Q 5 2

!Q J 5

#J 9 7 5

2Q 10 3