Pursuits: Bridge

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The Independent Culture
THE OPPORTUNITY to achieve a defensive ruff only by leading trumps is, of necessity, something of a rarity. So much so that East simply did not consider the possibility and, following the line of least resistance, ended by watching his opponents clinch the rubber.

South opened Two Spades and North, who might have shown his suit if he could have bid it at the Two level, gave the negative response of 2 No- trumps. South rebid his spades and, hoping for the best with his scattered values, North raised to game. West led 210 against Four Spades and, after taking his ace, East returned the suit.

After winning with 2K, declarer tried #J, overtaking in dummy. As West had followed with the two, East had no trouble in placing him with three cards in the suit and he took his ace. The problem now lay in finding the best way to try to put his partner in so that he could collect a club ruff. In practice he returned a heart but now declarer won with dummy's queen, cashed #K to discard 2Q (a key play) and finessed in trumps.

West won with his king but there was no longer any chance of a ruff and, when 4Q fell under the ace, South was home and dry - losing only one trump and the minor aces.

East had missed a neat opportunity. Rather that play West for !A, he could have played him for 4Kxx. A low spade return at trick four would have put declarer in a dilemma. If he plays 4A, he avoids a ruff but loses two spade tricks and, if he finesses in trumps, the defenders come to both 4K and a club ruff. It would have been the bridge parallel of Morton's Fork.

Game all; dealer South


49 5

!Q 6 4

#K Q 10 7 4

27 5 3

West East

4K 3 2 4Q 4

!9 7 !J 10 8 5 2

#8 3 2 #A 9 6 5

210 9 8 6 4 2A 2


4A J 10 8 7 6

!A K 3


2K Q J