Bridge

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It all looked so easy for declarer in Four Hearts on this deal. What could go wrong? He soon found out, although it was true to say that the adverse distruibution was a little unkind.

North opened One No-trump (12-14 points) and South bid a direct Four Hearts to end matters. He might have transferred to hearts by bidding Two Diamonds and so put his partner at the helm, but perhaps he preferred his declarer play to his partner's. At any rate, his bid was hardly unreasonable.

West led 410 against Four Hearts and declarer won on the table. A heart to the ace revealed the 3-0 trump break - apparently a minor pin-prick - but when the diamond finesse failed and East shrewdly returned !Q, South was in trouble. If he ruffed a diamond on the table, he would lose a trump trick. Perhaps #J would come down in three? No joy, and declarer ended by losing a club and three tricks in diamonds no matter down he played.

There were two alternative possibilities. A spade ruff at trick two would have allowed declarer to take an immediate diamond finesse (and now two diamond ruffs on the table would have restricted his losers to three at most).

On the other hand, he could simply have played #A and #Q, and probably this play would have been the safer line. Now only a relatively unlikely adverse distribution would have led to failure.

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