Independent Pursuits: Bridge

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The Independent Culture
WELL SATISFIED with his efforts on this deal, South complacently wrote down the score. Behind him, the solitary spectator (breaking one of the unwritten laws of kibitzing) made disapproving noises. Can you see why?

South opened One Spade and North forced to game with 2 No-trumps (agreeing spades). South's next bid of Three Spades conventionally suggested an interest in progress but denied possession of a short suit. Undeterred, North cue-bid Four Clubs and then Four Hearts over South's next move of Four Diamonds. The partners then showed their second round controls in clubs and diamonds but there seemed to be something vital missing in hearts and they stopped accurately in Six Spades, against which West led 2Q.

The exact duplication of distribution was annoying and, with an almost certain heart loser, the only danger lay in a 3-0 trump break. It seemed a complete guess and, after winning the lead in hand, declarer led 4K to expose the position and, shortly afterwards, claimed.

So why was the kibitzer upset? Of course there was no reason why East, if anyone, held all three missing trumps but a good technician would have led a low trump to the ace at trick two. The point is that if (as happens) West proves to have a trump trick there is still the possibility that he holds !K as well. So, when the position is revealed, declarer simply cashes 4K, plays off all his minor suit winners, finesses !J, then exits with a trump. West, on lead, will have to lead away from his !K or concede a ruff and discard

Game all; dealer South


4A 10 6 5 4

!A J 4

#K 8 2

2A 3

West East

4Q 8 2 4none

!K 9 3 !10 7 6 5

#10 7 4 #9 6 5 3

2Q J 10 7 29 8 6 4 2


4K J 9 7 3

!Q 8 2

#A Q J

2K 5