Bridge - The Scotsman 17/05/13

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A TRUMP lead is not always bad, particularly against a high-level doubled contract. On this deal from the National Pairs semi-final the auction became a little overheated.

West, playing a strong no-trump, opened 1D, normally at least a four-card suit. South jumped to 3H, and the pre-empt had its effect. West is not really worth a bid at the three-level, but he could not resist doubling in case partner had spades. East should probably pass this, expecting partner to have a better hand with no particular fit, but that might not work well here. South must lose two diamonds and a heart, but he will get rid of his spade loser on a diamond since neither defender can attack spades. If he guesses well in clubs he makes 3H, and East-West score very badly. Unfortunately bidding did not produce any better a result.

East circumspectly removed to 4C, which would probably not be doubled, but West made foolishly gave preference to 4D. North doubled that with some confidence. What should South lead? A spade reduces tricks in that suit to one; a heart also gives away a trick; and a club resolves a guess for declarer. South chose a trump, which did no harm when North had such good pips. Declarer played ace and another club. North took the king and gave South a ruff. South, endplayed now, tried the queen of spade. That restricted the defenders to one spade, two hearts, two diamonds, a club and a ruff. Still, 500 was a top

score.