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THIS DEAL, from the 1997 Bermuda Bowl, featured a neat piece of play by Paul Thurston of Canada. North opened One Spade, East made a weak jump overcall of Three Clubs, and Thurston risked Three Diamonds. His partner supported him and South went on to the diamond game.

As you can see, Three No-trumps by South would have played comfortably (as long as declarer plays East for a seven card club suit) but Five Diamonds did not look too hopeful after the lead of CQ. At first sight the contract depended on an even spade break but declarer side-stepped in an elegant fashion.

After winning the lead on the table, South drew just one round of trumps then followed with SA, SK, and another spade, ruffing in hand. Matters looked black when the suit broke 4-2, but declarer followed with a second round of trumps to the ace and led another spade. East discarded another club and Thurston now made the key play of discarding a club from his hand!

This left West on lead with nothing but hearts to play. He did his best by leading a low heart to the 10 and king but now declarer could cross to dummy with a trump and discard his last club on the established spade. Then there was only one more trick - a heart - to be lost.

It is worth noting that, while ruffing the fourth round of spades in hand instead of discarding establishes a long spade, there would still have been only 10 tricks. For the contract, the end play against West was essential.