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BRIDGE



Published: Thu, July 25, 2013 @ 12:00 a.m.

BRIDGE

Neither vulnerable. South deals.

NORTH

xA 4

u6 4 3 2

vA Q 4 2

wJ 9 4

WEST EAST

xJ 9 8 6 2 xK 10 7

u8 7 5 uK Q J 10

v5 3 vJ 10 9 7

wQ 7 3 w8 2

SOUTH

xQ 5 3

uA 9

vK 8 6

wA K 10 6 5

The bidding:

SOUTH WEST NORTH EAST

1NT Pass 2w Pass

2vPass 3NT Pass

Pass Pass

Opening lead: Six of x

Finesses might start out “free,” but there can be a price to pay. Consider this deal.

With a shabby four-card major and a balanced hand, North might well have opted for a raise to three no trump rather than go through the process of looking for a 4-4 heart fit. However, here that would have made no difference to the final contract.

West led a low spade and declarer seized the chance to make sure of two tricks in the suit by playing low from dummy. East won with the king and shifted to the king of hearts. Declarer held up the ace but was forced to win the heart continuation. The fate of the contract now depended on the club finesse. Declarer crossed to dummy with the ace of spades and ran the jack of clubs. West won with the queen and returned a heart, and the contract failed by one trick, declarer losing a spade, three hearts and the queen of clubs.

Unlucky perhaps, since the contract would have succeeded if East held the queen of clubs or West the king of spades. We would have felt a bit better disposed toward South had the contract not been cold on any lie of the cards!

The heart suit was more of a danger than spades. To neutralize the threat in that suit, declarer should rise with the ace of spades at trick one and immediately run the jack of clubs into the safe hand — West. No matter what West does after winning the queen, declarer banks nine tricks — one spade, one heart, three diamonds and four clubs.

2013 Tribune Media Services


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