Pursuits: Bridge

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The Independent Culture
SPADES WERE a popular choice of trump suit on this deal from a match of many years ago. At my table, playing a long out-dated system, East felt compelled to open One Spade.

This set me, as South, something of a problem, which I attempted to solve by passing. Nobody else took any action either and, after my lead of 4K, declarer ended with only three tricks and the loss of 400 points. Nowadays, I am sure that many Wests might dredge up a 1 no-trumps response to One Spade, hoping for the best.

At the other table East, rather more sensibly, opened One Heart and South decided to overcall with Four Spades. All passed (East quite hopefully) and West led a heart. Declarer ruffed the heart continuation and started on trumps but East won the second round and continued forcing with hearts. It was all over now, and declarer was bound to lose four tricks and 100 points.

Well, our team had gained handsomely on the deal, but it could quite easily have gone the other way. How should the declarer in Four Spades have tackled his contract? To have had any chance of success he had to find the missing diamonds divided 3-2. It would have cost him nothing to cash his two top winners in the suit and then concede a diamond before touching trumps.

Now, if East continues his forcing defence, South can ruff his remaining diamonds with dummy's 410 8. If the defenders over-ruff or lead trumps at any stage, South is again in control and duly comes to his 10 tricks.

It is odd, is it not, how these triumphs of yesteryear stick in one's mind...

Game all; dealer East


410 8

!J 6 4 2

#K 9 3

210 7 6 2

West East

46 4A 5 3 2

!8 7 5 3 !A K Q 10

#10 8 #Q J 4

2K J 8 5 4 3 2Q 9


4K Q J 9 7 4


#A 7 6 5 2