Pursuits: Bridge

I ENJOYED mixed feelings as East on this deal from rubber bridge. To start with, perhaps hampered in some way by the awkward part-score of 30, our opponents reached the wrong contract. With chances for the defence, my partner made an excellent start but, oh dear!, faltered at the very end. Never mind, I thought; we lost the rubber but I have acquired an excellent column hand...

Why North-South ended in Three Hearts, instead of the relatively easy game contract of Two no-trumps, I shall never know, but my partner led the four of spades against Three Hearts. I won dummy's jack with my ace and returned a low diamond. Declarer won with his ace and led his other spade to West's king. West now led a low diamond to my queen. After winning, declarer crossed to the jack of hearts and discarded his losing diamond on the established spade.

Now South turned his attention to clubs by leading the nine to his queen. Partner played low without apparent thought (well done!) and this worked well when declarer continued clubs (low again from partner!) and finessed dummy's ten. After winning with my jack, I returned a trump. South won in hand and led a third round of clubs.

Oh dear! This was all too much for West. Having ducked twice with his ace of clubs, he felt it was now or never, and took his ace. It was all over - a fourth round of clubs was ruffed with dummy's ace and declarer had the rest of the tricks.

If only West had ducked the third round of clubs as well! I could have ruffed and returned a trump, leaving partner still with the ace of clubs and in a position to claim the last trick...

North-South game and 30;

dealer South

North

4Q J 8

!A J 6

#9 8 4 3

2K 10 9

West East

4K 7 6 4 4A 10 9 3

!7 3 !8 5 4 2

#J 6 2 #Q 7 5

2A 5 3 2 2J 7

South

45 2

!K Q 10 9

#A K 10

2Q 8 6 4

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