Independent Pursuits: Bridge

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AT BOTH tables on this deal from match play South found a way to go down in 3 No-trumps. As a result there was no swing. At comparison time the guilty declarers skated rapidly on to happier results. There really should have been no problem on this hand.

The bidding and lead were the same in both rooms: South opened One Diamond, North responded One Heart, and East overcalled with Two Clubs. South rebid his diamonds, North explored with Three Clubs and, with a guard in the enemy suit, South bid 3 No-trumps. All passed; West led 28.

The first declarer, rather naively, assumed that East must surely hold #K for his vulnerable overcall but, after winning the lead in hand with 2K, took the tiny precaution of cashing #A - giving himself the extra chance of dropping a singleton king from West, and not concerned if East subsequently scored with #K. This was not a success and the defenders took five tricks when West got in and led a second club.

The other declarer, more intelligently, put up dummy's 2Q on the opening lead. East won and returned 2J which declarer ducked. Satisfied with two tricks in the clubs, East unsportingly switched to a low heart and again the defenders came to five tricks.

The second South was on the right track but fell at the second hurdle. He should have taken the second club, crossed to a top spade and taken the diamond finesse into the "safe" hand. Then he would come to nine tricks, for he would not have been worried by a heart switch from East when he had lost only one club trick.