Bridge

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When there is a possibility of declarer trying for a throw-in, the defenders should try to discard in such a way that he still has a losing option. This was a case in point. At both tables in a recent match, there was a highly competitive auction leading to South playing in Five Clubs after East-West had bid up to Four Hearts.

West led the !A and declarer ruffed the heart continuation. One round of trumps revealed the slightly annoying 4-0 break (well, East-West would hardly have climbed so high without some distribution to help). South continued with the ace, king and another diamond, but West ruffed ahead of dummy with 24. As the last diamond could not now be safely trumped on the table, it looked as though everything would depend on the spade finesse - or would it?

There was no rush, and both declarers, in the same position, postponed the evil moment by cashing all of their remaining trumps. With one discard to find, East was down to 4J,6 #Q,J. At one table, East rather woodenly threw #J and now declarer threw him in with #Q and claimed the rest. Needless to say, he was peeved to find that the spade finesse was right all the time, and he would have had no claim to a brilliancy prize - had there been one.

The other East, in the same position, chose 4J for his last discard! Now South knew that his projected end play would not work, for East was marked with two more diamonds. The appropriate seeds of doubt had been planted and, playing for East's last cards to be 4K #Q,J, declarer led a spade to the ace (to drop East's hypothetical king) and was suitably infuriated when West claimed the last two tricks.

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