Pastimes: Bridge

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E-W game; dealer East

North

49 7 6 4 3 2

!2

#A Q 10 4

2A 7

West East

410 8 5 4A K J

!9 5 !6 4 3

#J 9 2 #K 8 6 3

2J 10 9 5 4 2K Q 2

South

4Q

!A K Q J 10 8 7

#7 5

28 6 3

This deal proved a multi-part problem for South. First, he had an awkward call to make on the first round; then (having made a slightly dubious decision), he had to look for a play to justify his choice.

East opened 1NT (15-17 points) to leave South with his first problem. A double was tempting - he would certainly defeat 1NT! - at the vulnerability, a pass was another possibility, or he could overcall in hearts (perhaps with a jump in an attempt to shut out a possible adverse spade fit).

As you can see, a double would have seen a retreat to the relative safety of 22, a pass would have collected 400 points (unless North wandered in), and South's actual choice of 4! would not appeal to everyone.

West led 2J. To win and lead another club would surely attract a trump switch, so declarer played low from dummy. East overtook and, as a trump switch now would allow South time to take two diamond finesses, returned a club to dummy's ace.

One thing was certain: East held #K, so leading a spade now would lead to a trump return and four certain tricks for the defenders. have you spotted the winning play? Although #K is badly placed, there is room for West to hold the jack. Solution: lead #Q from dummy at trick three! Now the defence is helpless - either declarer ruffs his losing club in dummy or, after drawing trumps, finesses #10 for his 10th trick.

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