Games: Bridge

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The Independent Online
This proved an excellent hand for the technicians when it came up in the recent Macallan Pairs. As you can imagine, there was a wide variety of results: Four Spades played comfortably for an overtrick; the eventual winners (Helgemo and Helness of Norway) were allowed to play the East-West cards in Three Diamonds doubled for a cheap escape; but the real interest came when South became declarer in Six Clubs after West had overcalled in hearts.

Now Six Clubs looks relatively easy if you can see only the North-South cards, but the irritating 4-0 trump break set problems which not all declarers managed to solve. For example, one distinguished declarer won the diamond lead and laid down the ace of clubs. Now he could not recover. he had to lose a spade and, to establish the suit, dummy had to ruff. Now East was bound to score a trump trick to defeat the contract.

Alfredo Versace (playing with Lorenzo Lauria, last year's Italian winners) was more alert to the possible dangers. He won the diamond lead and played a trump to the king to discover the bad break. He led a second trump through East, who followed with the nine, then continued with the ace and another spade.

Now a spade could be ruffed high with dummy's 2J, establishing the suit, and the marked trump finesse taken against East's ten.