bridge

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Love all; dealer West

North

4A J 9

!Q J 4

#J 8 6 3

2A K 5

West East

44 3 410 5 2

!7 2 !9 8 6 5

#A K Q 10 9 4 #7 5

2Q J 3 29 8 6 4

South

4K Q 8 7 6

!A K 10 3

#2

210 7 2

Over the years I have compiled a collection of "no-swing" hands. This was a recent addition from match play.

At one table West opened 1#, North overcalled with 1NT, and an involved sequence led South to the precarious contract of 64. At the other table, West opened with a decidedly heavy-handed 3# to leave North with more of a problem than his counterpart. Although 3NT was a possibility, he plumped for a take-out double and again the contract was 64 by South.

Now, how do you plan the play after West has led two top diamonds? The declarer, who had heard an opening bid at the One level, decided to play West for all the outstanding 12 points and, after ruffing, reeled off four trumps and four hearts. At the end, West - forced to retain a high diamond in front of dummy - had to part with a club and now 210 became the 12th trick.

At the other table, where there had been a pre-emptive opening, it seemed very unlikely that West held both the missing club honours as well as his good diamonds. Was there any alternative play?

Yes, to find West with at most two cards in both majors. You can see the sequence of play - just two rounds of trumps, two top clubs, and then four rounds of hearts discarding a club from dummy. Then a club ruff on the table provides the 12th trick.

It all happened, just like that, "Plus 980, minus 980", and only later was the intriguing difference of approach by the two declarers noted.

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