Games: Bridge

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It if often good play to give declarer the illusion that a particular finesse is right for him. It is well worth noting what such a defence might have achieved on this deal.

Playing a strong no-trump, North opened One Club (why not One Diamond, I wonder?) and South responded One Spade. North rebid One No-trump, South explored with a conventional Two Clubs, and North's Two Spades showed a minimum with three-card trump support. South went on to Four Spades and West led #3.

Declarer played low from dummy, East took his king and returned #7. After winning on the table, declarer continued by leading 410 and running it to West's queen. West switched to a low club to leave South with an awkward guess.

If he played low from dummy and East was able to win with the king there would be a diamond ruff to follow and he would be two down. Instead South decided to stake everything on a favourable heart position.

He won with 2A in dummy, came to hand with !A, and finessed !J. Now !K gave him a discard for his losing club and West could no longer put his partner in for a diamond ruff. In all, declarer lost a diamond and two trumps.

West missed a chance for a deceptive play that would have been almost certain to succeed. If he wins the first trump lead with his ace instead of the queen, then plays a club, the natural play for declarer will be to win in dummy and take the "marked" trump finesse against the queen.

Disaster follows when West wins with 4Q, puts East in with a club, and makes his last trump by ruffing a diamond.

The Westminster Society for Mentally Handicapped Children and Adults will be holding an afternoon of bridge (rubber or duplicate) for charity at the Malaysian High Commission, 45 Belgrave Square, London SW1 on Tuesday 7 October, starting at 2pm. Tickets pounds 25 (details: 0181-202-0958).

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