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Bridge 6/14
The play was not so hot
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    Minister and essayist Samuel McChord Crothers said, "Try as hard as we may for perfection, the net result of our labors is an amazing variety of imperfectness."
That sums up this week's deals. After a few days of looking at some particularly poor bidding, we have a deal in which the defense was imperfect.
    Against four hearts, West led a low spade. South ran it to his nine, drew trumps ending in his hand, repeated the spade finesse, and claimed 10 tricks: four spades, five hearts and one diamond. (Yes, declarer could have won an overtrick by leading a club after the second round of spades.) How might the defense have defeated the contract?
    The auction had a modern feel. North rebid one no-trump to show his hand-type. South used New Minor Forcing to ask about the majors. After North showed three hearts, South might have continued with two spades to check for a 4-4 fit there.
West's spade start might have worked well if East had strong spades and they could make South ruff a spade, but that was unlikely. West should have led his singleton diamond.
    Declarer would make his contract if he wins with dummy's ace, draws trumps, and takes the spade finesse. But that diamond finesse would look mighty temptin'. And if South succumbs, he could go down. East would take the trick and return the diamond five, his lowest diamond being a suit-preference signal for clubs. West would ruff and, if in midseason form, shift to a low club. East would win with his king and deliver a lethal second diamond ruff.

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