Independent Pursuits: Bridge

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"IT MAY seem a trivial defensive point but it eluded East at the table on this deal as he allowed a vulnerable game to slip through.

South opened One Diamond, North responded One Spade, and South rebid Two Clubs. To use the fourth suit now would have been an unnecessary complication, and North gave an invitational jump preference to Three Diamonds. South made another move with Four Clubs and, perhaps attaching too much weight to his club holding, North accepted the invitation. Mind you, it was difficult to stop short of game with such a high combined point count.

West led !3 against Five Diamonds and, after winning with his king, East cashed !A. Now he had a problem - had his partner led from !Q763 or !Q63? It was all guesswork now, he thought, and (otherwise there would have been no story) East attempted to cash 4A. Declarer ruffed and claimed.

East really was asleep. If the ace of spades was going to live, was it conceivable that all of dummy's spades would go away after a heart return? There was an alternative way out of East's supposed dilemma that is worth noting for future occasions. As the opening lead promised an honour, which had to be the queen, East could have returned !2 at trick two. This would have made it clear to his partner that East had started with exactly four hearts and West would have been able to see from where the setting trick might come.

Game all; dealer South


4K Q J 9

!J 10 8

#J 10 9 4

2K 5

West East

410 6 5 4 3 2 4A 8 7

!Q 6 3 !A K 9 2

#7 3 #5 2

27 3 210 8 6 2



!7 5 4

#A K Q 8 6

2A Q J 9 4