Bridge

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Game all; dealer South

North

4A K 8 4

!J 10 8

#K 8

2Q 10 9 4

West East

4none 4Q J 9 6 5

!7 6 5 4 3 2 !9

#Q J 10 7 #9 6 5 2

27 5 3 28 6 2

South

410 7 3 2

!A K Q

#A 4 3

2A K J

There were two traps on this deal from match-play. At the first table, North-South avoided one of them when North raised his partner's opening bid of 2NT directly to 6NT without exploring for a fit, thus avoiding a doomed spade slam. The other one was more subtle. The good news was that South spotted it; the bad news was that he only did so the next day when browsing through the match records.

In practice, declarer won the opening lead of #K in dummy, cashed a top spade, and winced. With only eleven top winners, the only chance of a twelfth trick lay in a possible end-play against East. South started with four rounds of clubs but an untroubled East shed a spade. Then came three top hearts and East let two diamonds go. It was still not good enough, for after cashing his diamond winner, South could not avoid the loss of two spades.

"Never mind," South consoled his partner, "they are sure to reach Six Spades in the other room and go two off." He was partly right: they did end in Six Spades, but the declarer played well and also escaped well for one off.

South's belated analysis reached the conclusion that he should have won the opening diamond lead in his own hand! As before, after testing the spades, he follows with four rounds of clubs and three of hearts. But now the second diamond is won on the table, East has been reduced to 4Q,J,9, with no exit cards left, and a low spade from dummy end-plays him to leave declarer with two of the last three tricks.

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