Bridge

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Indy Lifestyle Online
This hand from the past led to one of the most outrageous swindles that I have ever seen. And yet, although it is easy enough to smile at East when you can see the full deal, he had been set a genuine problem.

South opened Two Hearts and North raised to Three Hearts. Cue-bids followed, and once South had established that his partner held 4A, 2A and #K together with heart support, he thought that he could count 13 tricks and went on to Seven Hearts.

West led a trump and it became clear that there was a hitch in South's calculations. Yes, his side held #A,K and Q as expected, but only two tricks in the suit. It looked as though a spade loser was inevitable.

Would you have had the same bright idea as South: that if East held both 4K and 4Q he might be persuaded to misjudge the situation?

Declarer drew trumps in two rounds and boldly followed with the ace and another spade! Put yourself in the East seat. If South were to have started with, say, 4x, !A,K,Q,x,x,x, #A,x,x 2K,J x, he would have a potential club loser. But now, if East plays his queen on the second spade lead, his partner's now singleton jack would now fall while declarer ruffed. Then another spade ruff in the South hand would expose the position and the 13th trick would come from a ruffing finesse against East's 4K.

You must have guessed by now that, to preserve his spade holding over dummy and prevent (or so he thought) declarer from establishing a second trick in the suit, East played low, and South's jack won.

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