Bridge: ALAN HIRON

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Both declarers made their contract of three Spades on this deal from match play. Neither should have succeeded but, at least, one West made a much better effort than his counterpart.

East-West game; dealer West

North

4 J 9 8 6 5 3

! A 9

pounds Q 9 5

2 9 2

West East

4 7 4 2

! K 10 7 ! Q J 6 4 2

pounds 10 8 7 6 pounds K J 2

2 A K 7 4 3 2 Q J 10 5

South

4 A K Q 10 4

! 8 5 3

pounds A 4 3

2 8 6

The bidding was the same at both tables: after three passes South opened One Spade, North raised to Three Spades and South made a well judged pass to end matters. (Their opponents, perhaps deterred by the vulnerability, really had been rather timid for they would have had a fair play for Four Hearts.)

West led the ace of clubs, on which East signalled with the queen, and continued with a low club to East's 10. A low heart was returned and West's 10 was allowed to win.

One West woodenly played a second heart. Now it was easy for South. He won, drew trumps, ruffed a heart on the table (revealing that West had started with the king) and came to hand with a trump. Then he led a low diamond to the nine, end-playing East who had to discard a diamond away from his king or concede a ruff and discard. Why did declarer play East, rather than West, for the diamond king? Because West had passed as dealer and had already shown up with 10 points.

At the other table, West was far more with it. As before, his 10 of hearts was allowed to win the third trick but he then found the brilliant switch to the eight of diamonds - just the right card. Alas, East was not on the ball. When dummy played low, he ruined everything by putting in his jack. After that, a later finesse of dummy's nine of diamonds established declarer's ninth trick and the contract.

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