Pursuits: Bridge

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The Independent Culture
EAST FOUND himself in a position where he had three possible lines of defence on this deal. He rejected the first as obviously wrong, and the second because it was surely too dangerous. Unfortunately the third worked badly as well when declarer judged matters well. Only later did it become clear that East should not have been so hasty with his analysis.

South opened Two Clubs (showing an Acol Two in any of the four suits but not game-forcing) and North relayed with Two Diamonds. East overcalled with Two Hearts, South showed his spades, and West contested with Three Hearts. After a spade raise from his partner, South went on to game. All passed and West led the ace and another heart against Four Spades. East took his king and switched to his trump.

After winning the spade return in hand, declarer led his singleton diamond to the two, jack and queen. This left East on lead with a problem. A diamond return would clearly cost a trick and there was an acute danger in trying a club for if, as seemed likely, South held the queen as well as the ace, he would now avoid a club loser.

Taking a deep breath, East tried a third round of hearts, deliberately conceding a ruff and discard. All would have been well if declarer had ruffed in dummy but he wisely trumped in hand and discarded a club from the table. Now 4J gave an entry for a successful club finesse and 2A and a club ruff followed to give South 10 tricks.

And the spurned possibility? The ace of diamonds (or, for that matter, even a low diamond!) certainly gives declarer a trick in the suit but does not really help him for he still has an inescapable club loser. Would you have found this defence?

East-West game; dealer South


4J 3 2

!6 4

#K J 8 7 6

2J 7 5

West East

47 6 5 44

!A 5 3 2 !K J 10 9 8

#10 5 2 #A Q 9 3

210 6 3 2K 4 2


4A K Q 10 9 8

!Q 7


2A Q 9 8