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BRIDGE



Published: Sat, July 16, 2005 @ 12:00 a.m.



East-West vulnerable. East deals.

NORTH

x -10 7 5

u -A 10 9 4

v -A Q J 2

w -A 9

WEST EAST

x -K 9 6 2 x -A Q J 4 3

u -8 6 5 2 u -K J 3

v -8 v -6 4

w -J 10 7 6w -K 5 2

SOUTH

x -8

u -Q 7

v -K 10 9 7 5 3

w -Q 8 4 3

The bidding:

EAST SOUTH WEST NORTH

1x 3v Pass 5v

Pass Pass Pass

Opening lead: Two of x

On this deal from a rubber bridge game in Texas, it looked as if East had a choice of ways to commit suicide. There was a way out, however, and counting revealed it.

South's jump to three diamonds was pre-emptive, and the vulnerability precluded West from acting on such a weak hand despite four-card spade support. North's raise to game was somewhat speculative.

West led the two of spades to East's ace, and declarer ruffed the spade return. South crossed to dummy with a trump and ruffed the remaining spade. Declarer drew the outstanding trump and ran the queen of hearts, losing to East's king.

East was faced with a predicament. If he returned a spade, declarer would ruff while discarding a club from dummy, then ruff out the jack of hearts. Declarer would then be able to ruff two clubs on the board and discard another on the good 10 of hearts. If East returns a club instead, declarer will insert the queen, which wins, and can ruff two losing clubs in dummy. And a heart would be into declarer's tenace.

East took time to count declarer's winners. There were six trump tricks, one heart and one club, and a heart return would concede two more tricks for a total of 10. Declarer can only try for an 11th trick in clubs, but not without allowing East to score the setting trick with the king of clubs. Giving declarer two extra tricks in hearts was not enough to allow the contract to succeed, so the heart return is the winning defense.

& copy; 2005 Tribune Media Services




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