7 DECEMBER 1996, Page 72



Mirror image

Andrew Robson

WHEN both declarer's hand and dummy have exactly the same hand pattern, they are said to be mirrored and a disappointing trick tally almost invariably results. Declarer overcame the mirror and a foul trump break to land his slam. Cover up the East West cards and make 6*. West leads V10 and he has all three trumps.

Dealer North Neither side Vulnerable South

3* 44 pass The Bidding

West North East

2NT pass pass 4* pass pass 6* pass pass Declarer won the V10 lead in dummy and led a • to his ace, discovering the disap- pinting news. With potential losers in both black suits, he put his optimistic boots on. He assumed that West held 40, avoiding a loser in that suit, and then considered *s. In isolation, the best way to avoid a club loser is to hope that both the missing 40 and +J are sitting under dummy's AKIO and to play a 4 to the 10. All rather unlike- ly — and even more so when you consider that East is likely to have longer 4s as he holds a void •. Can you spot a better way of avoiding a 4 loser? Clue: East discarded a 4 on the first round of •s, indicative of a five-card holding.

Declarer led a 4 to dummy's jack and cashed •K, VK and 4K. He returned to 4A and led a second 4. He took West's 40 with dummy's ace, cashed 4K and finally led a third round of trumps. West won but, having no 45 remaining, was forced to lead a V. Declarer trumped in one hand and discarded the 4 loser from the other.