Independent Pursuits: Bridge

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The Independent Culture
"I WISH that I had broken all the rules and passed your Three Hearts!" mourned North after watching his partner go down in game on this deal. "But I was afraid of destroying partnership confidence." Fair enough, but South certainly did his bit to reduce their morale. With two lines of play that would have succeeded, he chose a third - which did not...

South opened with a conventional Two Clubs and rebid Two Hearts (forcing to game) over his partner's negative response of Two Diamonds. North showed his clubs (not everyone's choice, but if the hand was to be played in no-trumps it would be better for South to be declarer) and South bid his hearts again. With an inward sigh, North honoured his obligations and raised to Four Hearts. All passed and West led #Q.

Declarer tried the direct rout - he won with #A, cashed 4AK, and ruffed 48 on the table. Then he finessed !Q successfully and followed with !A and !J. No joy, for East took his king, put West in with a diamond, and was able to ruff a fourth round of spades. With a club trick still to be lost, that was one off.

Another possibility for South was to have let #Q hold, win a diamond continuation, and lead 2Q. The, after ruffing a spade and losing a trick to !K, his opponents' lines of communication would be cut and his 4Q safe from attack.

Perhaps the bet and simplest line would have been to win the diamond lead and follow with four rounds of spades, discarding dummy's remaining diamonds and exchanging one loser for another. Then a diamond could be trumped on the table and finally trumps played in complete safety.

Game all; dealer South


46 4

!3 2

#8 6 2

29 7 6 4 3 2

West East

4J 9 3 2 410 7 5

!5 !K 8 6 4

#Q J 10 9 #K 5 4 3

2A J 8 5 2K 10


4A K Q 8

!A Q J 10 9 7

#A 7