Pursuits: Bridge

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WEST FOUND a good defence against South's game on this deal and fully deserved his success. The interesting question, however, is whether declarer could have improved on his line of play.

West opened Three Diamonds and, after two passes, South bid Three Spades. As this overcall was in the protective position, it was doubtful whether North should have moved. However, he found a sporting raise to Four Spades and all passed.

West started with a crafty #Q. The idea was that, if his partner happened to win the trick with his ace, his attention might be drawn to a club return. It was South, however, who turned up with #A, and he continued with SK to East's ace. The significance of the first trick was not lost on East and he played back 2K. West ruffed with S10 and switched to !3.

Declarer won East's queen with his ace and drew trumps. Then he led a heart. His idea was to duck in dummy, when either an even heart division or a possible red suit squeeze on West might provide his tenth trick. Now West defended shrewdly by following with !10. This prevented his partner being left on lead with the nine. Declarer duly ducked in dummy, but West led another round of hearts to break up any chance of a squeeze.

It was certainly good defence by West, but a more resourceful declarer might have succeeded. After West had ruffed with 410, he seemed to be marked with a 2-4-7-0 distribution.

If South had ducked the first round of hearts completely and won the second round in hand, then 2A and the rest of the trumps would have left West without a good discard, squeezed with #K and the heart guard in front of dummy.

Love all; dealer West


47 4

!K 7 6 2

#8 6 5 3

2A J 5

West East

410 6 4A 8 3

!J 10 8 3 !Q 9

#K Q 10 9 7 4 2 #J

2none 2K Q 8 7 6 4 2


4K Q J 9 5 2

!A 5 4


210 9 3