Wednesday's bridge...

THE maxim 'cover an honour with an honour' is an over-simplification. We have already added the proviso 'if doing so may promote a trick for your side'. This deal, from the Scottish National Swiss Pairs, shows that we also need to redefine 'honour'.

East is barely worth a limit raise to 3H, but he was swayed by his trump quality, and West naturally went on to game. North led a spade. Declarer took the ace and led the nine of diamonds. South played second hand low, and the nine ran to the ten. North led a spade to South's king, and South switched to a club for the queen and ace. North returned the jack of clubs to the king.

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The defenders had three tricks, so declarer needed the rest. The only way to avoid a club loser was to establish a diamond for a discard. He drew trump and led the five of diamonds to the queen and ace. West now had DJ8, and North DK74. The jack was covered by the king and ruffed (if North does not cover declarer simply throws a club). Declarer crossed to hand with a spade ruff and took his discard on the eight.

Things are different if South covers the nine of diamonds with his queen. After winning the ace declarer is left with DJ86 under North's DK107, and cannot establish a diamond trick. Unfortunately 'cover a potentially significant high card with an honour if doing so may promote a trick for your side' does not exactly trip off the tongue.