Independent Pursuits: Bridge

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The Independent Culture
THERE WAS some good play on this deal, and it ended with declarer seeing through West's little deception. He took note of a tiny clue which illustrates a point that is well worth bearing in mind.

North opened 1 No-trumps (15-17 points) and South responded Two Spades - a transfer to clubs. West passed and North broke the transfer with 2 No-trumps - suggesting a fit in clubs and a maximum. South moved on with Three Hearts and, taking this as a cue bid, north tried Three Spades. Fearing a mutual weakness in diamonds, South went back to clubs, and the final contract was Five Clubs.

West led !K and, after winning, declarer returned a heart. West won and led a third round, ruffed in dummy.

Next came 2K, on which East discarded a diamond, and the bad news. To avoid two trump losers, South had to play to reduce his trumps three times, after which he would be able to end-play West. He started with 4A and a spade ruff, then crossed to #K and ruffed another spade on which West dropped the king.

This was an excellent try, for now, after reaching the table with the other top diamond, declarer had the problem of whether to ruff a spade or a diamond.

He got it right when he chose the spade. West sheepishly followed suit and now, after exiting with !10, declarer was bound to make two of the last three tricks.

Why did South choose to ruff a spade, not a diamond? The clue came on the first round of trumps, when East discarded a diamond. Seeing four cards in the suit on the table, he'd have been unlikely to have parted with one from a four-card holding, but with five it was easy for him to spare one.

Game all; dealer North


4A Q J 5

!9 7

#A K 7 2

2K 6 3

West East

4K 9 7 3 410 8 6 4

!K Q 8 !J 5 4 2

#10 8 #Q J 9 6 4

2Q J 5 2 2none



!A 10 6 3

#5 3

2A 10 9 8 7 4