Indoors: Bridge

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The Independent Online
"I suppose, South said reflectively after this deal, "that if I get everything right, I can make 12 tricks." Seeing all four hands, that is an easy one, but your problem is to guess how he played to end with only eight tricks in his contract of Four Hearts.

South opened One Heart and North (playing five-card majors) raised to Two Hearts. Hoping for a favourable lead if he did not reveal too much about his hand, South jumped to game. Mind you, if he had made any sort of try, North, with his maximum, would have accepted the invitation. All passed and West led #10 against Four Hearts.

Declarer ruffed, cashed his two top trumps (failing to drop the queen), and followed with a club to the king. Then came a spade to the king and a spade finesse. Thinking quickly, East ducked smoothly and, lulled into a false sense of security, declarer ill-advisedly came back to hand with a diamond ruff. Then he repeated the "marked" spade finesse and the roof fell in.

East won with his now bare queen, cashed !Q and forced out declarer's last trump with another diamond lead. West, who had taken care to discard his 28 on his partner's !Q, was now in a position to claim the remaining tricks.

Many apologies for the misprinted hand which turned last Saturday's bridge into a high-level deduction puzzle. We have identified the cause of the misprint and hope to avoid such problems in future.

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