14 MARCH 1998, Page 56



Andrew Robson

IF there was a poll to find the British bridge expert with the most flair, John Collings would get many votes. Forced to give up tournament bridge for many years through ill-health, he has returned with a vengeance in his early sixties.

The week's deal saw John (South) show flair in the bidding and technique in the play.

Dealer South North-South vulnerable

4 A 3

11 A K 2 *A 9 5 4 3

+8 7 6

4ICQJ 7 6 48 5 4 2 WJ 9 8 4 N W7 6 *KJ 6 w E 400 8 7 2 X10 +J 4 2 • 10 9

Q 105 3 • 10 • A K Q 9 5 3

South 1+ 2V 4+ pass The Bidding

West North East

14 2+ pass pass 24 pass pass 6+ pass pass North's 24 bid showed at least game- going values and asked partner for further description. Despite holding a minimum opener in terms of point-count, John jumped to 4+ to show his excellent suit. This enabled North to bid slam — a very good contract on paper.

West led 4K and John won with dummy's ace and cashed 4Q and 4K. The 3-1 trump split meant declarer could not safely trump his fourth V in dummy; furthermore, West's 4K lead had removed the extra dummy entry required to estab- lish the fifth •. But John found the cor- rect continuation. Can you?

He led •10 to dummy's •A, trumped a • and then exited with 410. West had to win but then had a series of losing options. If he led a third 4, then John could trump in dummy and discard his fourth V. If he led his third •, then declarer would be able to establish dummy's fifth •. West therefore led a V, hoping his partner held V10. Not so — John let the lead run to his V10, drew East's last trump and claimed.