Bridge

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When there has been a strong intervening bid by a vulnerable opponent, it is a fair bet that you will not find your missing trumps obligingly breaking even. South would have done well to look for an alternative on this deal.

After two pases, South opened One Spade and West doubled. North bid One No-trump, South Two Spades, and West now tried Three Hearts. North doubled, but South did not fancy this and bid his spades again. Irritated, North raised to Four Spades and all passed.

West started with two top diamonds and South ruffed. There seemed no great danger of West holding seven hearts, so declarer cashed !K and, pleased to find that it held, continued with 4A and 4K. If all had followed, he proposed to cash !A and follow with what he hoped would be a successful guess in clubs. As you can see, the trumps did not break; East was able to ruff the second round of hearts and, although he could over-ruff, South eventually lost three club tricks to go one off.

A different line of play, which succeeds as the cards lie, is to play West for the ace and another club. Still assuming that East cannot ruff the first round of hearts, declarer leads a low club at trick three. This loses to West's nine and, after a heart or diamond continuation, another low club brings down West's ace. Now two rounds of trumps, ending in dummy, enable South to take the winning club finesse for ten tricks without needing to call upon the aid of the ace of hearts.

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