Independent Pursuits: Bridge

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The Independent Culture
"I'VE READ the chapter on safety plays... " South began, but he was interrupted by the tiresome kibitzer who had seen all four hands and added: "but haven't got as far as the one on preserving entries!"

South opened One No-trump (12-14 points) and North raised directly to Six No-trumps against which west led a low heart, doing declarer no harm, which went to the three, queen and king. Four tricks in diamonds would now be enough and, as the cards lie, an immediate finesse of #7 works, but would, of course, fail if East held the singleton ten. Considering the suit in isolation, there was a play to ensure the necessary tricks and declarer cashed #A before coming to hand with 2Q to lead a second diamond. West played low, however, and dummy's seven won.

Too late, South saw a hitch. He needed two entries to hand in order to establish and cash a fourth diamond, and he had to fall back on the spade finesse. When this failed, so did the contract.

Can you spot the point that the unwelcome spectator had highlighted? The play itself in the diamond suit was spot on, but declarer had missed an essential preliminary at trick one. He should have played !J from the table on the opening lead. It looks unnatura;l, but consider the effect: declarer still has his three heart tricks and, whether East covers with his queen or not, there is now an extra entry back to hand in the hearts, and the diamonds can be brought in.

Love all; dealer South


48 5 2

!A J 3

#A K 7

2A K J 10

West East

4K 10 7 4J 9 6 4

!9 7 6 4 2 !Q 8 5

#Q 10 5 4 #2

25 29 8 7 3 2


4A Q 3

!K 10

#J 9 8 6 3

2Q 6 4