Independent Pursuits: Bridge

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DECLARER HAD the right idea in mind on this deal but, overlooking an important detail, went astray at a critical point.

South opened One Heart, and North responded Two Diamonds, East, with his eight-card suit, contemplated joining in but was afraid that a heart bid by him might be taken as showing some sort of black two-suiter and so passed. It was his last chance, for South jumped to 3NT to end the auction.

West led 42 against 3NT and, after taking his ace and queen, East had to switch. It is easy to see what would have happened if he had returned a heart now - declarer, unwilling to risk West getting in to cash his spades, would rely on a friendly diamond break and win with his !A (with an unexpected result!). Far-sightedly, East returned a club instead.

Slightly puzzled by this development, declarer cashed his four club tricks. East and South both discarded hearts, and West threw a diamond. A diamond to the king revealed the bad break and also that East must have started with eight hearts! Next came #Q and #A, and, clearly, East had nothing but hearts left. So declarer continued with !Q (better, at any rate, than the 10, which would have lost if West had held either the king or the jack), but now West claimed the remainder of the tricks.

South would have done better to throw his useless 4J, rather than a heart, on the last club. Then in the end position he can afford to cash !A to guard against the singleton king with West. If, as would seem likely, !K does not fall, East can be put in with a low heart and South must make !Q at the end for his ninth trick.

East-West game; dealer South


47 6 4 3


#K Q 7 5 2

2K Q 4 3

West East

4K 9 5 2 4A Q

!K !J 9 8 7 6 5 3 2

#J 10 8 6 4 #none

27 5 2 29 8 6


4J 10 8

!A Q 10 4

#A 9 3

2A J 10