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West deals  S 8 5 4 3 
 H Q 4 
 D 8 5 
 C A J 9 8 2 
 S
 H 7 6 
 D K J T 7 6 4 
 C K T 6 3    
[both vul]  S A T 9 2       
 H A K T 9 
 H 8 3 2 
 C 7 4 
 S K Q J 6 
 H J 5 
 D A Q 9 3 2 
 C Q 5 

West
Alex F

pass
2D
all pass

North
Herbert

pass
2S

East


pass
pass

South
Alex S

1S
3S
Result: plus 1, NS +170

West
Peter

2D
all pass

North


pass

East
Paul G

2H

South


2S
Result: down 1, NS –100
A Selection of Canapés


A few months ago, I kibitzed a second round Cuppers match between Trinity IV and King's. Trinity IV were already well ahead by the time this board came up.

The poor bridge started early when East sorted three of his hearts in with his diamonds, and decided the resulting flat 11-count wasn't worth opening. Alex Summers, for Trinity, upped the stakes by opening his second-longest suit. Alex Foley had been unable to bid 2D initially owing to system constraints, so tried a sub-minimum overcall now, but as Herbert had 4-card support, it didn't make much difference.

The play was entertainigly poor. Alex Foley led the C3. Alex Summers let that run round to his queen, and then turned his attention to the trump suit, playing the SQ and J. East should of course win one to ensure two spade winners, but he let both of these hold. I was pleased to see Alex S switch to a club, but surprised to see him call for dummy's CA as the finesse had already worked once. Still, I assumed he wasn't willing to risk missing the chance to lead a spade from dummy.

I was proved wrong when he called for a diamond from dummy—eschewing the marked spade finesse to take a diamond finesse into the hand which had bid diamonds. Happily, East was more than a match for this poor play, and ruffed in with the ST! He then cashed the HA and stopped to think. Forseeing an endplay, he came up with the imaginitive exit card of the H2, won by dummy's queen. Alex now cashed the DA and crossruffed, just losing a trick to the SA.

After the match, I went over to see what had happened at the other table. The board started well for Trinity when Peter was able to open a weak 2D and Paul managed to get a count on his heart suit. Bizarrely the King's South also chose to step into the auction with his second-longest suit, and Paul timidly let him play there. The fortunate dummy meant that 2S looked pretty safe, but when the defence started with three rounds of hearts, South tried to ruff in with the S6, and rapidly lost trump control, ending up with just seven tricks.