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Pursuits: Bridge

SOUTH REALLY should have paid more attention to the fact that East had passed as dealer on this hand. Had he done so, he might well have found the winning play instead of (as he did) choosing the line of least resistance.

After a pass by East, South chose to open One Spade rather than One Club. This seemed to have worked well when North raised to game and all passed. West led the ten of hearts against Four Spades and East started with three rounds of hearts. Declarer ruffed the third, drew trumps with the ace and king, and continued with dummy's singleton ten of clubs. When East played low, he went up with his king and this lost to West's ace.

This left West in the happy position of being able to exit safely with 2J.

Now there was only one diamond discard to be taken in dummy, and eventually declarer fell back on the diamond finesse. This failed, and so did the contract.

It would have been logical to place West with the ace of clubs. Suppose that, when the ten of clubs is not covered, declarer lets it run? West is able to win with his jack but is now end-played. A heart return gives South a ruff and discard (while one of dummy's diamonds goes away) and then a ruffing finesse against West's ace of clubs allows the other losing diamond to be discarded, and any club that West chooses is equally ineffective.

What an important card South's eight of clubs would have proved! If the eight and the seven had been exchanged, West would have had a safe exit with his nine, away from the ace, after winning with his jack. This again would have left declarer with only one diamond discard from the table.

Love all; dealer East


4K Q 10 7 6 4

!Q 5 2

#Q 10 3


West East

45 2 43

!10 9 8 7 !A K J 4

#K 7 #8 6 5 4 2

2A J 9 7 6 25 4 3


4A J 9 8

!6 3

#A J 9

2K Q 8 2