Bridge

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North-South game; dealer South

North

4K J 10 5

!A Q 7 4

#8 3 2

27 4

West East

4none 47 4 3

!J 9 6 3 !10 8 5

#K Q 10 9 6 #4

2K Q 8 3 2J 10 9 6 5 2

South

4A Q 9 8 6 2

!K 2

#A J 7 5

2A

"That was something of a wasted journey!" East commented, at comparison time on this deal from match play. He had sacrificed in Seven Clubs at a cost of 1,100 points against his opponents' vulnerable slam, only to find that his team-mates had gone down in their slam which, as he felt obliged to point out, they should have made.

The bidding started in the same way at both tables. South opened One Spade, West decided to double, and North bid Two No-trumps, conventionally showing a sound raise to Three Spades. Without subtlety, South blasted into Six Spades. One East took the plunge and saved; the other decided to take his chances in defence. Perhaps his partner might be able to lead the ace and another diamond, he thought.

West led #K against Six Spades and, with only 11 top tricks, declarer realised that some sort of squeeze would be necessary. To correct the timing, he ducked the opening lead, but this did not prove a success when West continued diamonds and his partner ruffed.

The aggrieved sacrificer was quick to point out how the play should have gone. If, as seemed reasonable, West held four or more hearts as well as the #Q, there would be no need to rectify the count. Suppose declarer wins immediately, cashes 2A, and runs off six rounds of trumps. West happily discards two diamonds and three clubs but then, less happily, has to throw something from !J,9,6,3 #Q,10. If he parts with a heart it is all over and, if he discards #10, a low diamond from declarer's hand brings down #Q and establishes #J for the 12th trick.

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