Pursuits: Bridge

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The Independent Culture
THERE WERE surprises for two of the players on this deal. First South, gloating over his game-going hand, was stunned to hear his partner open One Diamond. Later, West was horrified to find that his standard lead of the top of a sequence had proved disastrous.

After the opening bid South wasted no time - he responded 7 No-trumps!

This really was a bit wild - Seven Diamonds would have been easy, but in No-trumps there were only 12 top tricks.

Now, just suppose that West had led either minor suit. There would have only been one practical chance for declarer - the spade finesse, leading to the undignified loss of 100 points. But West's S10 went to the jack, queen and ace...

There were still only 12 winners and apparently the main chance had gone but, in an odd way, the lead forced declarer into the winning play. He had to rely on West having led from 410 9 8 7 and also holding !K. After winning with 4A, he cashed three club tricks, discarding !9 from hand, and followed with his six diamond tricks.

With three cards to go this left dummy with 4K !Q 7, declarer with 46 5 !A, and West struggling for a discard from 49 8 !K J. It was a perfect example of the so-called "criss-cross" squeeze.

Game all; dealer North


4K J

!Q 7 5 3

#J 10 8 3

2K Q J

West East

410 9 8 7 4Q 4 3 2

!K J 8 4 2 !10 6

#2 #6 4

29 7 4 28 6 5 3 2


4A 6 5

!A 9

#A K Q 9 7 5

2A 10