Games: Bridge

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Reprints come and reprints go, but one of the most welcome is The Expert Game (Robert Hale, pounds 9.99). The original, of course, was written by the late Terence Reese, first published in 1958 and long regarded as a classic. After nearly 40 years all-round technique has improved and Barry Rigal has done a fine job in updating the original and adding new material.

Take this deal, featuring the American star Gail Greenberg in the East seat. The bidding by North-South was both descriptive and accurate when they stopped in Six Spades after having made it clear that they held all of the outside controls and had only stopped short of the grand slam because of the weakness in the trump suit.

West led a low heart against the slam and South's natural play would have been, after winning on the table, to lead and run 4J. It would not matter if this lost, for now the solitary remaining trump would fall under the ace and in this way declarer would cater for the possibility of East holding all three missing trumps.

Greenberg created a diversion. Diagnosing the situation accurately, she dropped !Q under the ace! It was just enough to sow a seed of doubt in declarer's mind: was it possible that !Q was a singleton and that a trump finesse, losing to a lone honour, would allow East to ruff the next heart lead?

Perhaps South's play does not stand up to close analysis, but she fell into Greenberg's trap and, when 4J from dummy brought the four from East, she went up with the ace, (hoping for a 2-1 break in the suit) and so ended by losing two trump tricks.