bridge

North-South game; dealer South
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The Independent Online
The London Trophy, an annual knock-out competition for non-bridge clubs, attracted 300 teams last year. The title went to the West End Lawn Tennis Club, Pinner. The Plate, for first-round losers, was won by Rank Xerox I. The final produced this deal.

At all four tables, South's opening bid of Two No-trumps was raised to Six and West led a diamond.

Three declarers saw matters in simple light: they tested the hearts to find that East guarded the suit and followed by cashing all of their remaining minor suit winners. In practice East came down to 4K 9 !10 8 and two more rounds of hearts threw him in to lead away from his king of spades.

It would have been far better for East to reduce himself to 4K !10 8 29 to leave declarer with a guess at the end. Yes, he might have dropped the king of spades successfully but an attempted throw-in would have led to the loss of two tricks.

Only one declarer found the right way to play the hand, eliminating any guesswork. After winning the diamond lead, he cashed the ace and queen of hearts and followed with a spade to the 10. This lost to the jack but, after cashing the ace of spades, declarer took his remaining diamonds and three clubs ending in dummy to squeeze East in the major suits. This line wins whenever East holds the jack of spades, the king of spades, or both. Enquiries for next year's event to Cecil Leighton (0181-500 0700).

With four rounds to play in the European Bridge Championships in Vilamoura, Portugal, Italy lead with 4881/2 points, followed by Netherlands 4791/2, Poland 478 and France 461. Britain, with 4431/2 are out of contention in 11th place.

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