Games: Bridge

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Declarer gave himself an unnecessary decision on this deal and, as luck would have it, took the wrong guess.

Stretching slightly, South opened Two Spades. West overcalled with Three Diamonds and, after two passes, South showed his hearts and was raised to game. Apparently oblivious of the fact that he had already overbid his hand, South launched into Blackwood and, on learning of one ace, went on to Six Hearts against which West led #K.

Declarer won with the ace and, correctly, played on spades before touching trumps. He cashed 4A and ruffed a spade high in dummy. This was an error in timing, for after coming to hand with a trump, South could not be sure that the spade suit had become established.

Fearing a 4-2 division, he ruffed another spade high. When it turned out that trumps were 3-1, he could not enjoy his remaining spades without exhausting all of dummy's trumps first, and at the end he was left with a losing diamond and a losing club.

As a 5-1 break in spades would have been unmanageable, South could have afforded to play off both 4A and 4K before ruffing a spade. After the third round, he will know whether a fourth spade has to be trumped or not, and he will succeed if either the spades or the trumps break evenly.

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