Bridge

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The Independent Travel
North-South did well on this deal, reaching the best game contract of Four Spades and taking full advantage of a slack defence. Mind you, it was not all that easy for East-West to exploit the slightly unfavourable lie of the cards that declarer found.

South opened 14, North bid 2#, and South rebid his spades. North explored with 3! and, with no guard in clubs, South gave preference with 4#. North corrected to 44 and all passed. With four trumps, West decided not to play for ruffs and led 2Q. East, after overtaking, cashed another top club and (rather woodenly) switched to a trump. Declarer played low and West correctly let dummy's jack win.

With a losing club still in hand, it would have been naive for South to repeat the trump finesse. Instead, he cashed 4A and played off three rounds of diamonds to discard his last club. Then he came back to hand with !A and led 4Q to the king. West, with only black cards left, could not now prevent declarer from drawing his last trump and claiming.

It was neatly played, but can you see a better defence (apart from an opening heart lead)? Suppose that East leads a third round of clubs at trick three instead of a trump; declarer ruffs in dummy and, with little else to try, runs 4J. Now West wins immediately and leads a fourth round of clubs which East trumps with his 49. This promotes a second trump trick for his partner.

Game all; dealer South

North

4J 4

!K Q 5 2

#A K J 7 3

27 4

West East

4K 8 7 2 49 5

!7 !J 10 9 6 4

#9 5 2 #10 8 6

2Q J 10 8 5 2A K 3

South

4A Q 10 6 3

!A 8 3

#Q 4

29 6 2

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