Bridge

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The Independent Online
A defender who holds Q,x,x in the trump suit and who has already made one trick against a small slam will wait tremulously to see how declarer will play the trumps. This, however, was a deal where unusual action was called for.

South opened One Spade, West bid Two No-trumps (unusual, showing the minors) and North bid Four Hearts. His bid was distinctly unwise: it was designed to show spade support and a heart shortage but he might well have played there if East had not doubled. Slowly the North-South wires became uncrossed and the final contract was Six Spades.

West led the king of clubs and South ruffed the club continuation. Timing the play carefully, declarer ruffed a heart, cashed the two top diamonds, and ruffed another heart. Two more clubs and two more hearts were trumped and now a diamond lead saw East helplessly ruffing low after which declarer made his two top trumps separately.

It looks all wrong (and, indeed, after the disjointed bidding, East did not pay too much attention to the problem) but how should he have defended?

Overtake the king of clubs with his ace and return a trump! Undoubtedly this solves any problems as to the whereabouts of the queen but, rather more importantly, it leaves declarer with only 11 tricks.

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