Independent Pursuits: Bridge

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The Independent Culture
A RECURRENT tactical problem comes up in the closing stages of a big pairs event. You are doing well but not quite well enough to be in the big money unless you end with a few near tops. South was in just that position on this deal when he heard his partner open One Club.

As you can see, Six Clubs would have been an excellent contract and, in practice, would have scored some 75 per cent. A gamble on Seven Clubs would have yielded a top score (thanks to the diamond finesse) but, after some rather haphazard approach shots, South decided to try for 6 No-trumps - obviously not as good as the small slam in clubs, but standing to score more.

West, reluctant to lead away from !K into a suit that South had bid, chose a passive club lead, giving declarer breathing-space. A successful diamond finesse meant that there were not 11 tricks in sight and, at trick 3, South ducked a diamond to East. A diamond came back but West showed out, leaving only limited squeeze chances to save the day.

South started by cashing !A and then settled down to run the rest of the clubs. East, forced to keep #J, let his hearts go first but, on the last club, had to come down to 4Q J #J. Declarer threw his now useless #6 and West was squeezed in hearts and spades. He threw 42 and dummy's 47 became declarer's 12th trick.

East should have trusted his partner to hold the third round of spades as otherwise the and could not be defended. If he keeps !Q and #J and West retains 48 5 2, there is no squeeze.

That was a triumph but, again pushing too hard, North-South collected three poor scores out of the last four deals and so slipped out of contention.

Game all; dealer North


4A 7 4 3


#7 4 2

2A K 10 8 5 4

West East

48 5 2 4Q J 10 6

!K 10 8 6 4 2 !Q 7 5

#9 3 #K J 10 8

26 3 27 2


4K 9

!A J 9 3

#A Q 6 5

2Q J 9