Independent Pursuits: Bridge

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The Independent Culture
THE HURLY-BURLY of rubber bridge brings strange decisions and equally bizarre results. Consider this deal - South opened One No-trumps (12-14 points), West rather timidly passed (for, apparently, Two Clubs would have been conventional) and North bid Two Diamonds - a transfer to hearts. Making up for his partner's caution, East (who hates to be left out of any auction) doubled.

While this showed diamonds, this really seemed a futile gesture. With a passed partner he had little chance of buying the contract and he did not particularly want a diamond lead. South bid Two Hearts (promising at least three cards in the suit, as he would have passed with only two) and West bid Three Diamonds. North raised to Three Hearts and, after two passes, West went on to Four Diamonds. Now North, who had judged his hand to be worth about Three and a half Hearts, bid game and West (affronted) doubled.

After the lead of #K declarer had problems. What had West doubled on? High cards or a trump stack? How should the hearts be tackled? His eventual decision to lead low from hand and finesse !9 seemed to have worked badly when East won with the 10. Why East did not return his singleton club at this point is a mystery (it would have led to immediate defeat) but, judging incorrectly that the defence needed tricks in spades, he switched disastrously to 42. Holding his breath, South let this run to dummy's jack and now, with !K and !Q falling together, he needed only to find West with 2A.

Now could South always have made his contract? I shall come back to this hand in a few days' time. Watch this space!

Love all; dealer South


4J 4 3

!A J 9 8 4 3


2K 8 3

West East

49 6 4Q 10 8 2

!K 2 !Q 10

#K Q 6 2 #J 10 9 8 4 3

2A Q 10 9 2 25


4A K 7 5

!7 6 5

#A 5

2J 7 6 4