Games: Bridge

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The Independent Online
You have to be far-sighted at this game to achieve the best results. I have an instinctive feeling that only a minority of players would have succeeded on this deal. Certainly South was not among their number.

South opened One Spade, North responded Two Clubs, and South jumped to Three Spades. North, rather wildly, brought out the sledgehammer of Roman Key Card Blackwood and, on learning that either #A or 4K was missing, raised to Six Spades. West led #10 against the slam and, after winning, South led and ran 4Q successfully. West, of course, did not cover.

With high hopes, declarer cashed 4A but the king did not fall and East had the opportunity to signal helpfully with 2Q, South played off the top diamonds and exited with a trump but West had received his partner's message and got off lead safely with a club. Now, eventually, South had to lose a heart trick.

Well, how would a more thoughtful declarer have tackled the hand? They would realise that, should West have a natural trump trick, it would be necessary to remove all of his safe exit cards before throwing him in. With that in mind, the best sequence of play is clear:

Cash 2A at trick two and ruff a club, then take the trump finesse and try 4A, unsuccessfully. Now another club ruff follows and, after cashing the remaining top diamonds, South finally gets off lead with a trump, having now reduced West to hearts alone.