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There is much good material in Hand Reading in Bridge by Danny Roth (Gollancz, pounds 10.99). I thought that this deal had a rather intriguing point in the play - easily overlooked in the heat of the moment.

East opened 2#. Ah! Playing a variant of the Precision Club system, this showed 11-15 points in a three-suited hand, short in diamonds, with no five-card major. Wonderfully precise if your partner has a good hand, but, unfortunately, very revealing if the hand belongs to your opponents.

Can you see how this worked out? When West led 23 against the rather well bid 6 #by South, it was clearly a singleton and East had to hold a 4-4-1-4 distribution. with practically all of the missing points.

Obviously dummy's ace had to be played and trumps drawn (using the ace for one spade finesse en route). But now, when declarer leads 2Q, East holds off, wins the next club, and exits with a spade to leave declarer cut off from dummy and a trick short.

The solution? Drop 2Q under the ace! Now after drawing trumps and finessing once in spades as before, East has an uncomfortable choice on the next club lead. Either he wins, when the rest of the suit can be enjoyed, or he ducks, allowing declarer to discard his remaining club on the !A, repeat the spade finesse, and concede a trick in the suit to restrict his losers to only one spade.

East-West game; dealer East


47 3

!A 10 3

#A 8 2

2A J 10 9 2

West East

44 2 4K 10 8 5

!J 9 7 5 4 2 !K Q 8 6

#10 9 6 3 #4

23 2K 8 6 4


4A Q J 9 6


#K Q J 7 5

2Q 7 5