Games: Bridge

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When you set out to construct a mousetrap, it is no good leaving the mouse an escape route. East overlooked this on today's deal but he need not have worried, for declarer still swallowed the bait.

After a pass by East, South opened 12 and North responded 1#. Now East joined in with 14, but South's jump to 32 kept West quiet. North tried 34 but, with no guard in the enemy suit, South repeated his clubs. Hoping for the best, North raised to 52 and West led S4.

It was clear to East that the defence had at most two tricks to come in spades and the heart finesse (if required) would be right for declarer. The only real hope was that his partner held a top trump honour which undoubtedly would be a singleton. If it was the ace, no problem, but if it was the king? He thought quickly: if he won with 4Q he would advertise his holding of 4A,K,Q and, after his initial pass, declarer would be sure to place West with 2K if it was missing.So East won the first trick with 4A and cashed 4Q. Then he switched to #10. All went as planned: declarer duly took a trump finesse and so went one down.

What was the line of escape that East had failed to block off? Suppose that instead of playing trumps immediately, declarer had taken the precaution of crossing to dummy and ruffing the last spade. West's jack appears, the situation in the suit becomes clear, and 2K can be placed with West. And how could East have closed the loophole? By playing the spades as he did but switching to a trump himself at trick three before declarer fathomed the true spade position.

Love all; dealer East


48 7 4

!A Q J

#A 7 4 2

210 9 5

West East

4J 6 2 4A K Q 9 3

!9 8 7 4 3 !10 5

#J 6 5 3 #10 9 8

2K 27 3 2


410 5

!K 6 2

#K Q

2A Q J 8 6 4