The usual reasons for holding off with a high card in defence are either for deceptive purposes or to disrupt declarer's communications. Neither seemed to apply here, so east took his trick immediately. This time, ducking would have been good play for quite a different reason.

Playing a Strong Club system, South opened 12. West overcalled with 14 and this came round to South. As his partner's pass showed at most four points, South contented himself with 1NT and all passed. West led 46 and declarer won East's 10 with his jack. He continued with the ace and another club to the jack and queen. The club position was clear to East, so he saw no point in holding up. He won and returned a spade.

West cashed his four spade tricks and South, in no trouble, parted with a heart and a club. West got off lead safely with a diamond, but now declarer had seven tricks (a spade, three diamonds and three clubs). Note the effect if East refuses to win the second club and South plays a third round. Now East wins and returns a spade, but the difference is that declarer has no good discard on the last spade. What-ever he throws, the defenders can restrict him to six tricks.

Yes, South could always have succeeded if he had read the position accurately. After the second club has held, he cashes #A,K,Q (removing West's safe exit cards), and gets off lead with a spade. Now he will eventually make a seventh trick with his !K.

European Bridge Championships

After 23 of the 34 rounds of the open series in the Generali European Bridge Championships in Montecatini Terme, Italy, the British men, after making a good start, have dropped to 10th place. Italy, Poland, Norway, Spain and the Netherlands are best placed to qualify for the Bermuda Bowl in Tunisia later this year. In the ladies' series, Britain holds second place after 14 of the 23 rounds.

Love all; dealer South


47 4 2

!J 8 3

#9 8 2

2Q 10 9 8

West East

4A Q 8 6 5 410 3

!A 9 2 !Q 10 6 5

#10 7 4 #J 6 5 3

2J 5 2K 7 6


4K J 9

!K 7 4

#A K Q

2A 4 3 2