Independent Pursuits: Bridge

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The Independent Culture
SOUTH HAD the germ of a good idea here, but he still did not give himself the best of chances and, as a result, still failed to get home.

South opened One Diamond and North responded with an old-fashioned 2 No-trumps - suggesting 11-12 points with no four-card major. I am quite sure that, with the South hand, I would simply have raised to 3 No-trumps and hoped for the best. This would not have been a success, for East has an obvious club lead and the suit breaks 5-3. More scientifically, South explored with Three Spades - not so much with the idea of playing in spades, but to suggest a weakness elsewhere.

With no guard in clubs, North gave preference to diamonds and South went on to game. West led !Q against Five Diamonds and it was clear that South had bid the hand better than I would have done. He won on the table and, sensibly enough, drew just two rounds of trumps with the ace and queen before testing the spades by playing off the ace, king, and queen. He would have been all right if the suit had divided 3-3, or if the defender with only two spades also held only two trumps, but East was able to ruff. Now South was a trick short.

Certainly South's play was better than drawing all the trumps and hoping for a 3-3 spade break, but can you see a further improvement on his plan?

The order in which he played the top spades was critical. Correct, after the two rounds of trumps, was to cash 4K, cross to 4A, and lead the third round from dummy. The extra chance now lay in finding East with two spades and the missing trump. What does he do on the third spade? If he discards, 4Q wins and the last spade is ruffed high; if he ruffs, he is only trumping a loser, and dummy's losing heart goes away on 4Q.

Game all; dealer South


4A 8 3

!A 6 5

#K 4 2

29 7 4 3

West East

4J 10 5 4 49 7

!Q J 10 8 !9 3 2

#7 5 #9 6 3

2A 10 2 2K J 8 6 5


4K Q 6 2

!K 7 4

#A Q 10 J 8