Pursuits: Bridge

IT LOOKS very much as though South can come to only nine tricks in a heart contract after the lead of the six of diamonds to East's ten, because the obvious try of leading a spade towards the king does not work.

On this deal from the World Senior Pairs event in Lille, however, Nissan Rand (whose combined Israeli, Austrian and Bulgarian team had enjoyed a convincing win in the Senior Teams event) demonstrated that Four Hearts was indeed makeable.

The bidding was straightforward - North opened One Club and South responded Four Hearts to end the auction and West had led the six of diamonds (yes, the queen of spades would have proved more effective) and Nissan won East's ten with his king. At trick two he led a club to the ace (the key play) and ruffed a club in hand. Then, after crossing to the ace of trumps, he ruffed another club.

It all looked like a beginner's mistake - what was being gained by ruffing losers with sure trump winners in the long trump hand? - but by so doing, he had removed all of East's safe exit cards. Declarer now played off all of his remaining trumps to come down to a four-card ending with 475 #95 in hand and 4K8 #Q7 in dummy. Pity poor East! In practice he reduced to 4A10 #AJ (he might have discarded more deceptively) and, reading the position well, Nissan exited with a diamond and East was forced to concede the last trick to dummy's king of spades.

Love all; dealer North

North

4K 8 4 2

!A

#Q 7 2

2A J 10 8 2

West East

4Q J 6 4A 10 9 3

!10 9 4 3 !6

#6 3 #A J 10 8 4

2K Q 7 6 29 4 3

South

47 5

!K Q J 8 7 5 2

#K 9 5

25

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