Pursuits: Bridge

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The Independent Culture
WEST READ too much into what appeared to him to be a clear suit preference signal on this deal and, as a result, found himself caught in an end play.

East opened Three Hearts and South overcalled with Three Spades. After a pass by West, North contented himself with a simple raise to game. (There were too many gaps in his hand to consider a slam try.) West led !Q against Four Spades; East overtook, cashed !A, and continued with !2 to South's jack.

West considered the position. He decided that his partner's return of the two suggested that he would prefer a return in the lower ranking suit, clubs. If West ruffed with 4K in front of dummy or discarded, declarer would throw 2Q from dummy and East's supposed 2K would not feature in the play. Accordingly, West ruffed with 45, both retaining his trump trick and killing declarer's winning !J.

Declarer over-ruffed with dummy's 47 and led a trump to his ace. He continued with two rounds of clubs and another trump. On lead with 4K, West was now forced to lead away from his #K or concede a ruff and discard.

West was correct in his assumption that East had returned !2 to warn his partner not to open up the diamonds. West, however, should have realised that East, who had opened Three Hearts, could hardly hold 2K as well as !A,K. If on the third round of hearts, West either discards or ruffs with 4K, the defence will come to a diamond trick in due course.

Game all; dealer East


410 7 4 2

!10 4

#A 10 7 6 3

2A Q

West East

4K 8 5 4none

!Q !A K 7 6 5 2

#K 9 8 2 #J 4

2J 9 8 5 2 210 7 6 3


4A Q J 9 6 3

!J 8 3

#Q 5

2K 4