Independent Pursuits: Bridge

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The Independent Culture
WHEN YOU are threatened with an adverse ruff, it is a natural reaction to attempt to draw your opponents' trumps. On this deal from match play, one declarer followed this simplistic policy, and failed - the other managed to read a little more into the situation.

The bidding was the same at both tables. Against silent opposition North opened One Diamond and rebid One Spade over his partner's heart response.

South bid his hearts again and North had no trouble in raising to game. West led 410 against Four Hearts and this was obviously from a short suit.

There was an informative clue which could have been spotted - both Wests had thought about their lead for a while - with a singleton, they might well have made a rather quicker decision!

This is the sort of pointer of which declarer takes advantage at his own risk, but an opponent should not hesitate too long with an obvious play. Ideally, he plays all his cards in even tempo.

Assuming that the lead was from 410x, one declarer started on trumps. East won the first and returned a spade.

Now, when West got in with !K, he was able to give his partner the lead with 2A and take a spade ruff to defeat the contract.

The other declarer, however, was to take a wise precaution. After winning the first trick on the table, he led 2K to East's ace. A spade came back and, still not touching trumps, South won in hand and cashed 2QJ, discarding dummy's remaining spades.

After this, at last, it was safe to tackle trumps and the defenders were restricted to their three top winners.

Game all; dealer North


4A K 9 5

!J 7 4

#A Q 9 7 2


West East

410 2 48 7 6 4

!K 3 2 !A

#J 8 4 #K 10 5 3

210 8 7 4 3 2A 9 6 2


4Q J 3

!Q 10 9 8 6 5


2Q J 5