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THIS DEAL came up during the qualifying rounds of the World Mixed Pairs in Lille and in the daily bulletin I read an account of the play at one table with rueful interest.

East opened One Heart, South overcalled with One Spade, and West raised to Two Hearts. North competed with Two Spades, East jumped to Four Hearts, and South tried his luck with Four Spades - clearly a close decision. West led a heart and, after ruffing the heart continuation, declarer timed the play well. At trick 3 he led #J and, when East played low, won with dummy's king. Next he ran 49 to West's king and, after trumping the next heart lead, crossed to the table with 2K and finessed again in trumps.

Now South could draw the last trump immediately and then play on diamonds, or lead a diamond first. In either case the play led to 10 tricks.

Alan Truscott, reporting the deal, noted that, if East had found the "improbable" switch to a club at trick 2, the contract would have been defeated, for West can use his two entries to lead two more rounds of clubs and so promote a trump trick for his partner.

I said I'd read the account ruefully: at my table the auction had gone the same way except that West had thrown in a final double. Yes, and East had found the "improbable" switch to a club at the second trick . . .

Even then it was not a bottom score - quite a few Easts had been left to play in Four Hearts and had escaped the killing diamond lead.

North-South game; dealer East


49 8 3

!10 5 4

#K 10 9 5 3

2K 6

West East

4K 5 4Q 10 4

!8 7 2 !A K Q 9 6 3

#A 7 #6 4

2Q 10 9 5 3 2 2J 8


4A J 7 6 2


#Q J 8 2

2A 7 4