Independent Pursuits: Bridge

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The Independent Culture
SOUTH MADE spluttering noises when he saw dummy on this deal and, before starting the play, launched into the attack. "Surely you were worth Three on the first round? Or at least you could have made a cue-bid later instead of feebly reverting to spades?" As I had arrived to watch only at this stage, they reviewed the bidding for my benefit. It had gone 14 - 24; 3NT - 44 and, yes, North had been a mite cautious.

West led !10 against Four Spades and, anxious to underline his partner's alleged shortcomings, declarer counted four spades, !A and two ruffs, and five diamond tricks. He won with !A and ruffed a heart. Coming back to hand with a high trump, he ruffed his remaining heart. The next top trump revealed that East had a sure trick in the suit and, now slightly apprehensive, South started on diamonds. Oh dear! East ruffed the third round and pushed through 2J to give the defenders the next three tricks.

Instead of attempting to make 12 tricks, South should have concentrated on making his actual contract. He had missed a simple enough safety play to cater for 4-1 trumps and 2A offside. After the first heart ruff, he should certainly lead a trump from dummy but he should insert the eight, not play one of his top honours. West wins - perhaps now taking a trick to which he was not entitled, but who cares? - and now South is in complete control of the situation.

It may be a policy of perfection, but when my dummy appears, I restrict my remarks to "Thank you", though in moments of extreme stress, I have been known to say "Goodness me!"