Independent Pursuits: Bridge

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WEST DID not think far enough ahead in the defence on this particular deal. There were, in fact, two possible ways of trying for a ruff, both equally likely, but one of them gave a far better chance of defeating the contract.

South opened 1NT (15-17 points) and showed his Hearts in response to a Stayman enquiry. North's raise to game was passed out and West led his singleton club against Four Hearts.

After winning in hand, declarer played the ace and another trump which West won with his king. His problem now was, how to put his partner in for the club ruff?

East was marked with some high cards - he might even have both 4A and #A, in which case it would not have mattered what West led with. But if East held only one ace, the wrong return would allow declarer to win and draw West's last trump.

There seemed to be no indication (yes, some modernists would agree that the order in which East has played his trumps should have suit preference connotations, but East-West were not of this particular school...), and in practice West chose a diamond. Now South had ten tricks.

West had missed an important point. If indeed his partner held #A but no 4A, a club ruff might well not defeat the contract - unless East held both of the top diamonds, there would be no more tricks to come. But on the other hand, if East held 4A but not #A, there would be some excellent prospects of eventually coming to a diamond trick at some later point, after taking the club ruff.

As you can see from the above, that is just how it would have worked out.

Game all; dealer South


4Q J

!Q J 7 2

#7 4 3

2K J 10 7

West East

410 6 5 2 4A 9 8 4

!K 9 3 !10 8

#Q 8 6 5 2 #K J 9

22 29 8 5 4


4K 7 3

!A 6 5 4

#A 10

2A Q 6 3