The Denver Post - - LIFE & CULTURE - By Frank Ste­wart

Many years ago, I lost a re­gional event be­cause I thought dummy had a six-card side suit when it had a seven-carder. As de­clarer, I failed to set

up the suit and went down in a cold dou­bled con­tract. I sulked about my aber­ra­tion for weeks.

Bridge can be a source of ex­hil­a­ra­tion or des­o­la­tion. One of the worst feel­ings a de­fender can have is watch­ing help­lessly as de­clarer en­gi­neers a cross­ruff. The feel­ing is worse if you could have done some­thing to al­ter the out­come.

In to­day’s deal, North’s raise to three spades in­vited game. That bid was bold enough. Why South went on to four spades is a mys­tery. Maybe he thought East-West were weak de­fend­ers.

Sure enough, West led the king of hearts, and South had his chance. He threw a di­a­mond on the ace of hearts, ruffed a heart, took the ace of clubs and ruffed a club. He ruffed a heart, ruffed a club and ruffed a heart, as EastWest had to fol­low. Hav­ing won the first seven tricks, as East-West sat crest­fallen, South took the K-A of di­a­monds and ruffed a di­a­mond for his 10th trick.

South shouldn’t have had the op­por­tu­nity for his cross­ruff. West had dummy’s hearts un­der con­trol and also had strength in clubs, the first suit South bid. No­body had bid di­a­monds, so that suit wasn’t likely to be a source of tricks. But South would surely need ex­tra trump tricks.

If West’s open­ing lead is a trump, he won’t have to re­gret the deal. East will take his high trumps, and eight tricks will be the best South can do.

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