Games: Bridge

"Idiot! Idiot!" South exclaimed, half-way through this deal. We looked at him, alarmed, but he was referring to his own play. As dummy, I was inclined to agree with his diagnosis but, of course, I was too polite to say so.

South opened One Heart and as North I responded Two Clubs. South raised to Three Clubs, I tried Three Hearts, and South went on to game. West led #Q against Four Hearts and, superficially, the contract depended on the trump finesse.

It might have been better technique to allow #Q to win, but declarer took the trick immediately. The queen of hearts was led and run successfully, dropping West's nine, but East covered !J with his king. This left a marked finesse position against East's eight, and after South had led a low club to dummy's jack, he was able to pick up the remaining trumps without loss.

The ace of clubs, however, brought bad news when East showed out. There was now only one chance and, after overtaking 2Q with dummy's king, declarer tried his luck in spades. No joy, and that was one off.

So, what was South's mistake? As a club honour had to be overtaken at some point, the right play on the first round of clubs was the queen to dummy's king. Then trumps are drawn, but the difference is that now 2A exposes the position and allows a marked finesse against West's ten.

Game all; dealer South


47 5

!Q J 4

#A 8 5

2K J 9 8 3

West East

4A Q 8 2 410 9 6 4 3

!9 !K 8 6 5

#Q J 9 4 #K 10 2

210 7 5 2 24


4K J

!A 10 7 3 2

#7 6 3

2A Q 6