Pastimes: Bridge

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N-S game; dealer West


4A K Q 3

!7 5 3 2

#A Q J

2Q 6

West East

49 7 4J 10 8 2

!K Q 10 9 8 6 !4

#5 2 #K 10 8

27 4 2 2K J 10 9 3


46 5 4

!A J

#9 7 6 4 3

2A 8 5

If, as East, you were told in advance that there was a defence to Three No-trumps, you would probably find it. As it was, after two good plays, East fell at the third fence.

West opened 3! and, with a difficult bid, North chose to double. East passed and, with an equally awkward call, South bid 3NT.

West led !K and declarer won immediately - there would have been an acute danger of a club switch if he had held off. He followed by finessing #J. It is often good tactics to hold up in this position, but East could place every high card at this stage and could see that the suit was blocked. He won immediately and followed up with 2K - attacking South's only certain entry before the diamonds could be unblocked.

Declarer allowed 2K to win but East continued the suit to dummy's queen. After cashing the top diamonds, declarer followed with four rounds of spades. On lead, with only clubs left, East had to concede an entry to the South hand and that was 10 tricks.

What was the final point that East had missed? When the top spades are cashed, he must unblock with his eight, 10 and jack! Dummy's three becomes an unexpected trick but now, with nothing but hearts left on the table, the last three tricks must be conceded to West.