Bridge

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"I would have made that 20 years ago!" claimed South after going down in Four Spades on this deal. It took him longer to explain himself than it had to play the hand.

East opened One Club, planning (in the modern style) to rebid One No- trump to suggest a balanced hand with 11-13 points. South overcalled with One Spade, West raised pre-emptively to Three Clubs, and North ended the auction with a jump to game in Spades.

West led 27 and, after taking his two club tricks, East switched to a low diamond. This gave South an immediate problem and, after some thought, he got it wrong and went up with his king only to lose two tricks in the suit.

It was not that South's dummy play had deteriorated over the years, but consider what would have happened in earlier times. East, as dealer, would have passed and South's opening bid of One Spade would have been raised to game. Now, if the play to the first three tricks had been the same, declarer would have been in a much stronger position.

He would have argued in this way: as he had already lost two tricks and there was a certain diamond loser, it was essential to find East with !K. But if he held 2A,Q and !K, he could hardly hold #A as well, for then he would have opened the bidding. So the only hope would have been to play East for the #Q and the finesse of the nine would have been marked.

Love all; dealer East

North

4K Q J 10 3

!Q 7 6 2

#8 3

2K 5

West East

45 48 4

!10 8 4 3 !K 9 5

#A 5 4 #Q 7 6 2

2J 9 8 7 3 2A Q 10 2

South

4A 9 7 6 2

!A J

#K J 10 9

26 4

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