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BRIDGE



Published: Sat, January 1, 2005 @ 12:00 a.m.



Both vulnerable. South deals.

NORTH

x A 7 4 2

u Q 4 2

v Q J 10 3

w Q 9

WEST EAST

x Q 8 6 3 x K J 9 5

u K 9 5 u 8 7

v 9 8 2 v 7 4

w A 7 5 w K 10 8 4 3

SOUTH

x 10

u A J 10 6 3

v A K 6 5

w J 6 2

The bidding:

SOUTH WEST NORTH EAST

1u Pass 2v Pass

3v Pass 4u Pass

Pass Pass

Opening lead: Five of u

With two sure losers in clubs, South's four-heart contract is safe as long as he can either avoid losing a trump or hold his club losers to two. Can South guarantee his contract against normal breaks?

North had intended making an invitational heart raise on the second round of bidding. When, however, the double fit was uncovered, North decided that the heart game would stand a good chance.

West found the best lead of a trump. Declarer put up the queen and, when that held, continued with a heart to the 10, losing to the king. West removed dummy's remaining trump, and South was left with having to avoid losing more than two club tricks.

The best chance for that was to find West with the ten of clubs. Declarer led a low club, finessing the nine. Unfortunately that lost to the ten, and two more club tricks sealed South's fate.

Declarer's line was a 3-to-1 favorite, but was distinctly second best. An avoidance play would have landed the game. After winning the first trick with the queen of hearts, declarer should lead the nine of clubs from dummy. East cannot rise with the king of clubs without limiting the defenders to two tricks in the suit, so he must cover with the ten. South inserts the jack, losing to West's ace. But now the trump suit is safe from attack. West cannot lead a heart without sacrificing his trick in the suit, and declarer can win any return, surrender a club to East's king, rise with the ace on the trumps should East return a heart, and ruff a club on the table. The defenders cannot collect more than two clubs and a trump.

& copy; 2005 Tribune Media Services




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