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ACUTELY EMBARRASSED by his collection of high cards on this deal, West succumbed to a squeeze without the count. There was a defence but, unlike West, would you have spotted it at the table?

South opened One Spade and West doubled. Now North had a valuation problem - Two Spades looked feeble, a pre-emptive raise to Three Spades seemed quite wrong - and eventually he settled for 2 no-trumps (ostensibly a genuine raise to Three Spades. Well, he had a possible ruffing value in diamonds and 2K might be well placed...). South bid the spade game and all passed.

West led #A against Four Spades and, after inspecting dummy, switched to his singleton trump. Assuming that 2A was right, there were still only nine tricks and the only hope lay in some sort of end-play against West so, after drawing the last trump, South led #Q. This was good technique - preparing for a diamond ruff and keeping East out of the lead. West won and was able to exit safely with a third diamond. Now, after ruffing on the table, declarer ran off the rest of his trumps. In trouble, West came down to !K J 2A J but declarer had left dummy with !A 2K 8 7 and now a club lead established two tricks in the suit for him.

So, what was the possibility that West had missed? On the last trump he could have made the spectacular discard of 2A! The point is that it is now East who wins the second round of clubs with his queen and, if he has discarded sensibly, he will still have a diamond left to cash for the setting trick.

Love all; dealer South


48 7 4 3

!A 10 4

#8 5

2K 8 7 5

West East

45 49 2

!K J 8 6 !9 5 3 2

#A K 9 #J 10 7 6 3

2A J 10 3 2 2Q 9


4A K Q J 10 6

!Q 7

#Q 4 2

26 4