Friday 26 February 1999
North opened One Heart and South responded One Spade. North rebid Two Clubs and, instead of the more natural 2 no-trumps, South explored with Two Diamonds. It was not clear what he had in mind, for when his partner next bid Two Hearts, he now tried 2 no-trumps. North raised to game and all passed. With a wildly unattractive lead West chose the six of clubs.
Declarer's choice of 210 from dummy worked badly. East won with 2J and immediately returned 29 into dummy's tenace, starting the attack on South's communications. After winning with 2Q, declarer began on the hearts but East held off on the first round and won the second. Then he switched to 48 and declarer's king won. Next came a low diamond from hand to dummy's queen and East's king and East continued his well-judged defence by returning a diamond.
If South had won in hand, although the diamonds were behaving, he would have had to lead a spade from hand and so concede two tricks in the suit to East. Instead, he won in dummy with the ten and, after cashing the hearts, was left with 46 2A7 on the table and 4Q10 #J in hand. Still totally in the dark as to the location of the remaining cards (even now he could still have got home by cashing 2A), he made his final mistake by leading a spade. East took his ace and, after he had returned his last club, his partner had the setting trick with 2K.
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