Bridge - The Scotsman 27/06/13

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This 4S contract from the Pairs at Poznan proved more difficult than it looks. Where North made a negative double to show four spades South became declarer; others declared from the North hand after bidding 1S. Either way, the lead was a heart to the ace.

There are not many tricks outside the trump suit, so declarer needs to play some kind of crossruff. He might lead a club at trick two. If West ducks, the queen scores and he plays a diamond to the jack and ace. West may lead a trump, declarer wins in the North hand, ruffs a heart, cashes the king of diamonds, ruffs a diamond and continues the crossruff to make all his remaining trump separately. If West rises with the ace of clubs to lead a trump, declarer has four plain suit winners and can afford to allow the defenders to play a second round of trump when they win their diamond. After two rounds of trump are played it is still possible to establish the thirteenth diamond, compensating for the loss of a club trick when West ruffs with his last trump.

Martin Kane learned his bridge in Glasgow but has since moved away. He made his contract by playing on opponents’ fears. Sitting South, he won the ace of hearts and advanced the jack of diamonds at trick two. West feared a cunning bid to sneak past the ace holding KQJxx. Even if he ducks, ace ruffs down in two rounds to give declarer two diamond tricks.