Pursuits: Bridge

WHEN I heard East being congratulated for his brilliant deceptive play on this deal, I was (I am afraid) deeply suspicious. I knew East better than the other players at the table and, without being too unkind (for he is a delightful fellow), he is not the greatest striker of the ball that I have ever met.

This was the story: playing five-card majors, South opened One Heart, West overcalled with One Spade, and North raised to Two Hearts. After a pass by East, South went directly to game and West led 4A against Four Hearts. Declarer ruffed the spade continuation and led #K to West's ace.

With nothing better to do, West led another top spade and, after ruffing, declarer followed with !A and #Q, then ruffed his losing diamond on the table.

Now came the exciting moment - when declarer led !J from the table, East followed with his ten! Clearly, thought declarer, it was West who still held !Q, so he went up with his king and considered how to play the clubs. West had shown up with five spades, at least three diamonds and presumably three hearts, so there was room for at most two clubs. You can see the sequel - when the ace and queen of clubs failed to drop the jack, South confidently finessed 210 on the third round of the suit. West produced a totally unexpected jack to defeat the contract.

After thinking about the deal for some time, I had an idea. Catching East in a quiet corner, I told him that, in a poor light, I also sometimes found the red suits confusing. With a sheepish grin he admitted that, yes, he had !Q muddled with his diamonds. However, you would have thought that the appearance of the other queen of diamonds might have alerted him.

Game all; dealer South

North

48 6 4 3 2

!J 7 5

#7 2

2A Q 3

West East

4A K Q 10 7 49 5

!9 2 !Q 10 3

#A 6 4 #J 10 9 5 3

2J 7 5 29 6 2

South

4J

!A K 8 6 4

#K Q 8

2K 10 8 4

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