bridge

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Not having played with this particular rubber bridge partner for 42 years, I could not resist suggesting that we played "same as last time, partner?". Nevertheless, our antiquated methods led to an elegant auction.

As North I opened 1# and rebid my suit over a response of 22. Next came 2! and I raised to Three; partner cue-bid 34 and, happy to cooperate, I showed my second round control in spades. next, partner tried 5# - a more intelligent slam try than 52 - and now, taking into account my !J, #Q and second round control in clubs, I jumped to 6!.

West led 4J and this was clearly an excellent contract. After winning in hand, declarer ran !10 which was allowed to win. When the trump finesse was repeated, however, East took his king and led a third trump (anything else allows declarer to ruff two clubs in dummy).

Clearly a finesse in either minor suit would have yielded a 12th trick, but this would have been an unnecessary risk. Instead, declarer tested the diamonds, discovering the bad news and discarding one club while East parted with a spade and a club.

The ending is neat. 2A and a club ruff are followed by a diamond ruff and East has to release his spade guard in order to keep his clubs. Now CK finishes West who has to keep #J in front of dummy, and now 46 becomes the twelfth trick - a non-simultaneous double-squeeze.

Oh dear, oh dear. In practice, declarer cashed both top clubs before ruffing a club. Now dummy had to part with either a spade or a diamond and there was no longer any squeeze.

My only consolation was that the hand would make a good column.

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