Independent Pursuits: Bridge

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The Independent Culture
THIS DEAL, taken from Ron Klinger's Practical Slam Bidding (Gollancz, pounds 6.99) is a good illustration of a slam that you really do not want to be in - unlike most of the hands in this lucid and helpful book.

Clearly Five Clubs is the safest contract for North-South as Three No- trumps by North depends on a good view in the suit after a low heart lead but, when France played North America in the 1960 Olympiad, both pairs stretched to Six Clubs by South after a pre-emptive heart overcall by West.

The French declarer had a relatively easy ride after the unfortunate choice of 4K as the opening lead. After winning with the ace and drawing trumps, declarer simply led a spade from dummy to his nine and was able to claim when this fetched the queen.

The American declarer had a much harder time of it after a heart lead. He ruffed, drew two rounds of trumps ending in dummy, ruffed a heart, crossed to a top diamond, and ruffed dummy's last heart. He followed with a diamond to the ace and a low spade to the five, nine and king to leave West on lead. As another heart lead would concede a ruff and discard, West got off lead with a low spade and, after running this to his jack, declarer was home.

Can you see the French mistake? The possible ruff and discard would not have helped South! If dummy ruffs, East can over-ruff; and a spade discard from the table instead still leaves declarer with an eventual loser in spades.

Love all; dealer East


4A 7 3 2

!Q 8 5

#A J 8

2K 9 3

West East

4K Q 4 410 8 5

!K J 9 6 4 3 2 !A 10 7

#6 4 #10 9 7 3

210 2J 8 4


4J 9 6


#K Q 5 2

2A Q 7 6 5 2