Bridge

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"The safety-play that wasn't," remarked the kibitzer who was waiting to cut in. This led to the old argument as to whether spectators who have made uncalled-for comments should have the appropriate minus score allocated to their account. Mind you, it cannot be denied that he had a point ...

South opened 12 and West overcalled with 3#. North might have bid a dull 3NT (which would have been safe enough after ducking a round of diamonds), but, hoping for better things, he bid 4#. With little else to offer, South rebid his clubs and North, after considerable thought, decided to clinch what he thought would be a safe rubber and passed.

West led #K against Five Clubs and declarer won in dummy. It seemed to him that there was some danger in coming to hand with a top spade and taking a trump finesse - there was just the possibility that he might have run into an adverse spade ruff if the trump finesse failed. So, playing, as he thought, for complete safety, he cashed 2A and led a second trump.

This had quite the wrong effect. East won with 2K, put his partner in with a diamond, and was able to score the setting trick with 29 when West led a third round of diamonds.

Apart from ducking the opening lead (potentially dangerous, for West might well have had a seven-card suit), the true safety play would have been to lead a low club from dummy at trick two. Yes, it might have cost an unnecessary trump trick, but then a third round of diamonds could be safely ruffed with 2A and the remaining trumps drawn.

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