13 SEPTEMBER 1997, Page 57



Andrew Robson

'He who hesitates is lost' is such an appro- priate maxim at the bridge table. Cameron Small read the cards beautifully on this week's hand, taken from The Spring Four- somes — Britain's premier event for Teams of Four.

Dealer South Neither side vulnerable 43 V K 9 7

• J 8 7 6 3 2 4 K J 5

4J 9 6 VQJ 10

• Q 109 9 8 4 3




4108 4 2 V A 8 5 3 2

• 4 +Q 102

4 A K Q 7 5

• 6 4 • A K 5 + A 7 6

The Bidding South West North East 2NT pass 3NT pass pass pass West led the queen of hearts — much more sensible than a club — and declarer ducked in dummy. West continued with ten of hearts and declarer played dummy's king. East, pausing for thought, realised that if he took his ace, the suit would be blocked. He therefore played low. But his hesitation had given way the location of the ace. The layout of the • suit had to be exactly as it was to explain East's failure to take his ace. Small then led a ♦ to ♦A and cashed ♦K, East having to discard. He realised the necessity to keep all his 4s and to throw a • would allow declarer to give Up a ♦. East correctly discarded 42. Again, though, he had hesitated. Declarer cashed three top 4s and could mark the missing 410 with East — he would have had an easy discard (on ♦ K) from three small cards. He then played +A, East's 410 appearing, and led a f towards dummy's +KJ. East was marked as having started with four 4s, five •s, one ♦ and therefore three 4s. If he had started with three 4s headed by the ten, he would have discarded a +(on •K) without pause. His hesitation suggested he started with 40102 and was loath to unguard 40. Small called for dummy's 4K and East's 4Q and felled. +J. was declarer's ninth trick.