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THIS DEAL proved particularly frustrating for the defenders. Their opponents' methods had led them to an unnaturally high contract which (if you saw all four hands) seemed almost sure to fail, and yet the natural defence had quite the wrong effect: it pushed declarer into a winning line of play.

Playing a Strong Club system South opened One Club. West overcalled with One Spade and North bid Two Diamonds - a positive response committing the partnership to game. Unhappy with his spade guard, South tried Two Hearts and North showed his second suit with Three Clubs. Perhaps placing his partner with a more distributional hand, South went past three no- trumps (which would surely have failed even if he had guessed the club position) and the final contract was Five Clubs.

West led 4A to the four, nine and three and continued with 4K and another spade. Declarer ruffed with dummy's 2J and, unable to over-ruff, East had an unattractive discard. Finally he threw away a small trump! But South now played on the assumption that East held four cards in each red suit. He played three rounds of hearts, ruffing the third in dummy, then played off four rounds of trumps, dropping the doubleton queen. On the last trump East was squeezed in hearts and diamonds.

It would do West no good to switch at trick three, for South would surely divine his motives. Maybe East should not have played high-low in spades; given a clear run, declarer might have finessed in trumps.