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A textbook play would have led South to success on this deal but, as he observed afterwards, he had omitted to read the text-book. Even allowing for this, the winning play was logical.

West opened One Diamond, North (a little cautiously) passed, and East dredged up a response of One Heart. South overcalled with One Spade, West passed, and North advanced with Two Hearts. With fair values and guards in both of his opponents' suits, South tried 2NT. With a close decision, North settled for the nine trick game rather than support spades.

West led [8 against 3NT and South won with his jack. Assuming that the diamond finesse was right, there were still only eight tricks in sight and declarer decided that his best bet was to concede a spade trick, hoping that the suit broke 3-2 and that West had started with only a four card club suit. As you can see, this was not a success. East won the third round of spades and returned a club for his partner to take the next four tricks and defeat the contract.

And the winning play that declarer overlooked? Playing back a club at trick 2! If West proved to have started with four clubs there would be time to develop the spades. But if West held a five card club suit, there were two possibilities: a) West did not cash all his clubs - then a spade could safely be conceded to East; and b) West cashed all his clubs - then, after a diamond finesse, East would be forced to unguard the spades or the hearts. It would have been a good example of the misnamed "suicide" squeeze. "Fratricide" squeeze may be more apt.

North-South game; dealer West


] K 10 7

_ A Q 5 4

+ A 4 2

[ 10 7 3


] Q 6 2

_ J 10 9 7 3 2

+ 7 3

[ 4 2


] A 9 8 5 3

_ K 6

+ Q J 6

[ Q J 5


] J 4

_ 8

+ K 10 9 8 5

[ A K 9 8 6