Games: Bridge

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The Independent Online
Oh dear! I shall have to give up offering well-meant advice and stick strictly to reporting facts. This deal produced a peevish letter from a correspondent.

The bidding was simple: South opened Two No-trumps and North raised to game. West led 44 against Three No-trumps, obviously following my recent suggestion that the lead of a ten against a no-trump contract implied a strong suit with two higher honours. Dummy followed with the six and East (who had clearly noticed my other recent point, that rather than make an apparently useless attempt with near-garbage in partner's suit, it was more useful to give a count) thoughtfully played the two to suggest a three-card holding.

When 46 won, declarer still had two guards in spades and he attacked clubs. Now it was too late for the defenders to get a long card in any suit working and they came to only the four obvious tricks (a spade, a diamond and two clubs).

Yes, the lead of 410 defeats the contract when West ducks his partner's next spade return. Yes, East could have done everything that was necessary by covering 46 with his seven at trick one after which, again, West ducks the next spade return.

But the real culprit on the hand was declarer! Why? He really should have tried 48 from dummy at trick one - a play that could hardly cost and would have provided an unexpected third stopper in spades.

Game all; dealer South


48 6

!Q 10 5

#10 7 6 3

2K 8 6 5

West East

4A 10 9 4 47 3 2

!9 7 2 !8 6 4 3

#8 5 2 #A 9 4

27 4 3 2A Q 2


4K Q J 5

!A K J

#K Q J

2J 10 9