Games: Bridge

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More disasters are attributable to "hasty play to the first trick" than to anything else. Here, for a change, it was hasty play to the second trick that was South's undoing.

South opened 14, North responded 22 and South rebid 2!. They were apparently forcing to game, so North could agree trumps with a simple raise to 3!. A welter of cue-bids followed and it became clear to South that the partnership held everything it needed except 4K. Against the final contract of 6!, West led the 2Q to dummy's ace.

Without deep thought. South noted the solidarity of his trump suit and decided to play on cross-ruff lines. His plan was simple: he would cash the ace of spades and concede a spade. Even when the defenders got in and led a trump, he would then make a spade, two diamonds, a club and eight trump tricks.

He soon discovered the hitch when West ruffed the ace of spades; now there was no way to avoid another loser in spades. Any suggestions?

A better plan, after winning the club, is to play a round of trumps. When both opponents follow, draw the remaining trumps, ending in dummy, and lead 48, running it if not covered. Now declarer is home however the spades divide. If East holds all four, there is no problem; if West holds all four, a ruffing finesse can be taken; and if the suit divides 3-1, only one ruff is necessary to establish the rest of the spades.

Game all; dealer South


48 2

!K J 8 6

#A 4

2A 9 8 7 3

West East

4none 4K Q 5 4

!5 4 3 !2

#10 8 7 6 3 #Q J 9 5 2

2Q J 10 6 5 2K 4 2


4A J 10 9 7 6 3

!A Q 10 9 7