Bridge

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There was an unusual safety play for declarer lurking on this deal from rubber bridge. Would you have seen it?

To set the scene: South, with his filthy five-card major, opened 1NT (12-14 points) rather than 1!. West overcalled with 24 to leave North with a problem. Would a bid of 32be taken as forcing? It looked as though an invitational rise to 2NT was a possibility, but North reasoned that (a) if the club suit "marched" there could easily be at least nine tricks, and (b) if the clubs did not behave there might not even be eight. So he boldly bid 3NT and all passed.

West led 44 against 3NT and declarer won East's 10 with his jack. Clearly the clubs had to be brought in and, equally clearly, East had to be kept out of the lead.

South, I am sorry to report, made the natural looking start of 2A at trick two. This would have wporked well if West had held 2Q,x or 2Q,x,x, or if East had started with 2Q alone or 2Q,x. - there would have been no temptation to finesse on the second round if both opponents had followed low. As the cards lay, there was no way to establish the clubs and keep East off lead. Consequently the contract failed.

Any ideas? What about 22 at trick two? Now declarer is home and dry in all the situations where the ace and another club would have succeeded and - wait for it - also as the cards lie, when all he has to do is allow West to hold the trick with his 2Q. On lead, West can do no harm and declarer has five club tricks, two hearts, a spade and a diamond.

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