Independent Pursuits: Bridge

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The Independent Culture
NOT MANY bridge articles deal with the common enough problem of minimising a certain loss, but this deal - from some 40 years ago - comes to mind.

West opened One Spade, East responded Two Clubs and (as South) I joined in with Two Hearts. West doubled and all passed.

You can tell that this was an ancient hand - nowadays it is doubtful whether East would have bid at the Two level and, most certainly, West's double would have meant something quite different.

West led 210 against Two Hearts doubled and East won dummy's jack with his queen. He would have done better to play a spade now, but he was concerned with the possibility that 210 was a singleton and therefore he cashed a second club before doing so.

I ruffed the third round of spades and followed with !K. This seemed natural enough, but West held off. Now he was able to play a forcing game with his spades and, whatever I tried, ended with three trump tricks to score 500 points. I was happy enough to note that East-West could have made game in spades but, on reflection, I might have done even better.

Suppose that, instead of leading !K, I had crossed to dummy with #K and finessed !10? Not with any hope of its winning, you understand, but dummy's second trump would have protected me against a force. In this way the loss would have been only 200 points.

Game all; dealer West


410 8 7

!3 2

#K 7 4 2

2J 9 8 2

West East

4A K J 9 5 44 3 2

!A J 8 4 !5

#J 9 #10 8 6 3

210 3 2A K Q 7 5


4Q 6

!K Q 10 9 7 6

#A Q 5

26 4