Independent Pursuits: Bridge

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FREAKISH HANDS are always difficult to bid accurately - most textbooks skate round the best way to deal with hands like South's on this deal.

Fortunately, North-South had some machinery...

South opened Four Diamonds - the so-called South African Texas - showing a good Four Spade opening with either solid spades or a one-loser suit with an outside control. North's response of Four Hearts showed interest but no controls in hearts (!). South could oblige in that department and, rather lazily, for North might have been even stronger, he jumped to the spade slam.

West led !K against Six Spades and, after winning in hand, declarer drew trumps by leading the queen to dummy's king. His very first move brought instant success when he led #5 from dummy - just as he would have done if he had held the singleton queen. East fell for it by going in with his ace, and it was all over.

"Suppose I play low on the diamond?" asked East. "Do you finesse in clubs?" South had his answer ready. "No. I play off 2AK, planning to take the ruffing finesse for a heart discard. That would be better than the straight finesse, as it caters for the doubleton CQ in either hand."

This was good news for East, who no longer had to search for an alibi to explain his play at trick 3.

Game all; dealer South


4K 6 3

!9 5 2

#K J 5

2A K J 10

West East

45 49

!K Q J !10 8 7 4

#Q 7 3 2 #A 10 9 8 6 4

29 7 6 4 3 2Q 5


4A Q J 10 8 7 4 2

!A 6 3


28 2