Games: bridge

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The Independent Online
The contract and the opening lead were the same at both tables on this deal from a recent match, but the two declarers found different ways of going off in what should have been an easy contract. Neither South was prepared to discuss the matter, but I intercepted the match records before they "disappeared".

South opened Two No-trumps, North raised to game and West led !K against Three No-trumps. It was easy enough to win the first trick, but now the play diverged. One declarer continued with a low heart at trick two. West followed with the eight and dummy's ten won. It is true that South could still have succeeded by cashing winners and forcing West to discard a winning heart or bare his 2K, but in practice declarer tried a simple club finesse and so went one down.

The other declarer, after crossing to dummy with a diamond, took an even earlier club finesse. He would have been home if the defence had continued hearts but, when in with 2K, West smartly switched to a spade. Now there was no time for declarer to develop a second heart trick.

So what had they both missed? There was an absolutely foolproof approach: a low club from hand at trick two. If West has the king and takes it, there are nine top tricks. If East turns up with 2K then he is on lead and cannot profitably attack spades, whoever holds the king. And if he defends passively, South has plenty of time to establish his second heart trick.

Game all; dealer South


4Q 10 6

!10 7 5 3

#K 10 6 4

2Q 6


48 4 3 4K J 9 5 2

!K Q 9 8 6 4 !none

#8 3 #9 7 5

2K 5 210 9 7 3 2


4A 7

!A J 2

#A Q J 2

2A J 8 4