bridge

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The Independent Online
Most big bridge tournaments award a brilliancy prize for the best- played hand. You may wonder why this deal was not included among the contenders in the Generali European Bridge Championships which ended in Vilamoura, Portugal last weekend.

Playing a Strong Club system, North-South were not given an easy ride. South opened One Club, West overcalled with One Diamond, and North bid One Heart. So far, so good, but when East raised to Three Diamonds and South showed his spades, West raised pre-emptively to Five Diamonds. Perhaps North should have taken the money by doubling but, guessing in the dark, he bid Six Spades and all passed.

Now, how do you rate your chances in Six Spades after a low diamond lead? Clearly not highly, but there is a distribution that will help you. I hope that you got there: West must hold a 2-1-6-4 distribution with a singleton top heart honour, and the jack of clubs. On those assumptions, the play is easy.

After winning the lead in hand, declarer should draw trumps in two rounds, finesse the 10 of clubs, ruff a diamond in hand, cross to the king of clubs and ruff another diamond. Now, after cashing the winning clubs, a heart lead from hand completes the story. West, on lead, must concede a ruff and discard.

Final placings in the European Championships:

Open Series: 1st Italy 5691/2; 2nd France 547; 3rd Netherlands 5421/2; 4th Sweden 5411/2.

Britain finished 14th.

Ladies' Series: 1st France 418; 2nd Germany 383; 3rd Israel 366; 4th Great Britain 363. By finishing in the top four, The British women qualify for the Venice Cup in Peking.

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