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North-South vulnerable, West deals

NORTH

♠A J 10 4

♥A K J 10 8 4

♦Void

♣K 7 6

WEST EAST

♠9 5 3 ♠Q 8 6

♥Q ♥9 7 6 5 3

♦K Q J 10 9 2 ♦8 7 5 3

♣J 8 3 ♣Q

SOUTH

♠K 7 2

♥2

♦A 6 4

♣A 10 9 5 4 2

The bidding:

WEST NORTH EAST SOUTH

3♦ Dbl 6♦ 7♣

All pass

Opening lead: King of

South in today’s deal was Australian Liam Milne. Milne’s bid of seven clubs might have been a bit too brave, but there was bridge reasoning behind it. Had East contented himself with a five-diamond bid, instead of six, Milne would have been perfectly comfortable bidding six clubs. In that light, seven clubs does not seem like such a big stretch. Also, he felt it was likely that East-West would soldier on to seven diamonds, which he would double for a larger penalty than he would get against six diamonds.

Milne caught a very suitable dummy, but the contract was far from cold. He won the opening diamond lead in hand with the ace and stopped to think. East had no more than four diamonds and would not have bid six diamonds with a balanced hand. Unless West had opened three diamonds with a five-card major on the side, which was most unlikely, East’s singleton had to be in clubs. Backing his judgment with his play, Milne cashed the ace of clubs at trick two. The queen fell from East, so Milne led the 10 of clubs and ran it when West played low. A club to the king drew the trumps.

Milne cashed dummy’s ace and king of hearts, planning to take a ruffing finesse against East for the queen. The fall of the queen from West resulted in a quick claim for declarer. Very nicely played!

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