Pursuits: Bridge

"YOU COULD have made that!" claimed the irritating kibitzer sitting in the South-West position after my partner had gone two down in Four Hearts. (What is your strategy when you have an unwelcome spectator who insists on making comments? One solution is to charge him table money and share it out among the players.) Well, I admit that he had a point here...

After three passes South opened One Heart and West doubled. As North, I redoubled; East bid One Spade, and South stretched to Three Hearts. Trustingly I raised to game and West led 4Q against Four Hearts. I will not dwell on the play itself, but I have to say that minus 200 was not a triumph.

Yes, there was a winning line - depending on a few (perhaps not unlikely) assumptions. West had passed originally and then doubled, so he was likely to be short in hearts. East appeared to hold 4K and, if he had held !K as well, he might have doubled the final contract. Conclusion? That finding !K singleton with West was a fair bet.

The winning line then, is as follows. Duck the opening lead, win the spade continuation, and ruff a spade in hand. Lay down !A, dropping the king (I told you so!), cross to dummy with #A, and lead a trump - covering East's nine with the jack. Then follow with 2A, 2K and a club ruff. Now all that remains to be done is to get off lead with a diamond and collect the last two tricks with !Q8.

Game all; dealer West


4A 8 2

!5 3

#A 9 6 5

2K 8 4 2

West East

4Q J 10 7 4K 9 6 4

!K !10 9 7 2

#K 10 8 4 #Q 3

2Q 10 6 5 2J 9 7


45 3

!A Q J 8 6 4

#J 7 2

2A 3