Independent Pursuits: Bridge

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I CAN remember watching this deal from the semi-final of the 1968 Bridge Olympiad between America and Holland - indeed, I was the table recorder - but I cannot remember the bidding. Although America won the match (before losing to Italy in the final) this was a good gain for the Dutch team.

The American North-South reached Six Diamonds - a contract that offered no play after East had led the ace of spades. At the other table, after many rounds of bidding, South ended in the better contract of Six Hearts.

West led a spade against the slam and, after taking his ace, East returned a spade. Now declarer had no problems. He won in hand, crossed to the king of hearts, and ruffed a low diamond. This gave him 12 tricks when both red suits divided 4-2.

The thing about the play, as it went, was that the queen of spades remained as an entry to dummy's diamonds after the trumps had been drawn.

At the time it was suggested that East should have put in the jack of spades on the first trick, keeping his ace over dummy's queen. This, in fact, would have left declarer with only one winning line of play, and we shall never know whether he would have found it at the table.

The secret of success, after winning the jack of spades with the king, lies in returning the ten of spades (not a low one) immediately. If East wins and returns a trump, declarer can establish diamonds with a ruff and still has the queen of spades as an entry to enjoy them. If East returns anything else, or even allows the ten of spades to win, South can cross- ruff the hand. He makes two spades, two ruffs in dummy, five hearts, a club, and two diamonds.

Love all; dealer North


4Q 7 4

!K 2

#A K Q 7 6 5 4


West East

48 5 3 2 4A J 9

!9 3 !8 6 5 4

#10 8 3 2 #J 9

2K 7 4 2Q 10 9 8


4K 10 6

!A Q J 10 7


2A J 6 5 3