Bridge

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Comparison time in teams play is always fraught. "Minus 600?" said one pair nervously. "Snap!" said their team mates. But all was not well . . .

North-South game; dealer East

North

4 8 6

! K 8 7 4

pounds Q 9 3

2 A K 10 9

West East

4 10 7 4 2 4 K Q J 9 5

! Q J 5 ! A 10 9 6 2

pounds K 2 pounds 4

2 6 5 4 2 2 8 7

South

4 A 3

! 3

pounds A J 10 8 7 6 5

2 Q J 3

At both tables, East opened One Spade, South overcalled with Two Diamonds, West raised to Two Spades and North (in the modern style) bid Three Spades - in principle suggesting a high card raise to at least Four Diamonds.

One South now tried Three No-Trumps. All passed and West led the two of spades. Declarer won, crossed to dummy with a club, and finessed in diamonds. West took his king and led another spade. East, after winning, shrewdly returned a low spade. In with the ten. West got the message and his switch to the queen of hearts meant that the defenders ended with ten tricks and a score of 600 points. Yes, declarer could have saved something from the wreckage by cashing all the clubs before finessing in diamonds.

At the other table, the lead was the same but this time the contract was Five Diamonds. As before, South won, crossed to dummy with a club, and finessed in diamonds. West won and sensibly switched to the queen of hearts on which dummy played low. East foolishly encouraged and, when West continued the suit, declarer was able to claim - again scoring 600 points.

As East knows that his side has a spade to cash (his partner led the two), he should have played his ace on his partner's queen and taken the setting trick. It did not cost too much, he was able to observe philosophically afterwards.

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