Bridge

This deal, from the semi-finals of the World Bridge Team Olympiad in Rhodes, presented little or no problem to the declarers who ended in Six Spades or Six Diamonds. An intriguing poser, however, was how South should plan the play in a contract of Seven Spades after the, admittedly unlikely, lead of a low heart. Seeing all four hands ("Bridge is an Easy Game!") as they did, the Vu-Graph commentators soon got there, but there was more than one possibility.

The trouble, of course, is the acute shortage of entries to declarer's hand. Coming to hand with #K to ruff a heart low in dummy leaves South with no way to draw the last trump. Another idea would be to play off the ace, king and another spade (catering for East to hold four spades headed by the jack) and rely on the club finesse or the remote chance of a heart-club squeeze. As you can see, this would have left South a trick short.

Well, what was the commentators' suggestion? After winning the heart lead on the table, declarer should cash 4A and come to hand with the queen - giving up the chance of picking up the guarded jack in East's hand. The point is that when the jack falls doubleton, a heart can be safely ruffed high on the table, the South hand re-entered with #K, the last trump drawn, and the losing club discarded on the long diamond.

And if 4J had not fallen in two? Then the last trump is drawn and, eventually, South has to fall back on the club finesse.

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