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The Independent Online
South found a neat way of improving his chances in Three No-trumps on this deal. Instead of relying on a straightforward guess, he chose a line that, without reducing his genuine chances, gave an opponent a chance to go wrong.

South opened One No-trump (12-14 points) and, after a Stayman enquiry of Two Clubs by North, ended in Three No-trumps. West led the three of spades and declarer won East's jack with his ace.

There were eight top winners and it was clear that, unless East held the queen of spades as well as the jack, the ninth trick had to be a club. There was, however, the very real danger that if the missing club honours were divided and declarer misguessed on the first round of the suit, a spade return from East would establish three tricks in the suit for his partner, who would still have a club entry.

As the cards lie, a club to the king wins, while running the jack of clubs fails. It looked an even- money bet, but South tried a diversion. At trick two, he crossed to dummy with a top heart and continued with a low club.

Can you see the point? South makes his contract whenever West holds the queen of clubs (for now the defenders cannot profitably continue spades), and so still has his 50 per cent chance of success. The extra edge his play offered became apparent when East (mistakenly but not unnaturally) played low on the club lead. West won the jack with his ace, but could not hurt South in any way. Indeed there was now time to develop a second trick in the club suit and so come to an overtrick.

Love all; dealer South

North

46 4

!A Q J 3

#A 8 2

2K 7 6 3

West East

4Q 9 8 3 2 4J 7 5

!7 6 5 !9 8 2

#10 6 3 #Q J 9 5

2A 4 2Q 9 8

South

4A K 10

!K 10 4

#K 7 4

2J 10 5 2

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