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I OFTEN collect useful copy by overhearing comparison time during match play. For example: "Minus 600." "Minus 100, and on the next board..." "Wait a moment! How did you go down in 3 No-trumps?" "They found a good defence. And on the next board..."

But South's team mates were still not happy, and eventually the full story of this deal came out.

South opened One Club and, at favourable vulnerability, West overcalled with Two Clubs, purporting to show a major two-suiter.

North bid Two Hearts, which was clearly a cue-bid, and raised South's next move of 2 No-trumps to game. West led the Queen of Spades against 3 No-trumps and East did well to unblock immediately with his king, strongly suggesting to declarer that the suit was breaking 5-2.

South won the spade continuation and pondered as to how the clubs could be developed for five tricks.

There seemed to be only one possibility, and at trick 3 South led his queen of clubs to the king, ace - and East dropped the jack!

As five club tricks would be enough for his contract and the heart finesse would surely be wrong on the bidding, declarer came to hand with the ace of hearts and finessed the eight of clubs with complete confidence.

Now there were three unpleasant surprises.

First, East produced the Eight of Clubs to win the trick; next he cashed the king of hearts, which he could not possibly have held, and, finally, he turned out to have a third spade for West to take two more tricks and defeat the contract.

I hope that South remembered to congratulate his opponents on this elegant defence, but I rather doubt that he did.

North-South game;

dealer South


46 4 3 2

!J 6

#A K 7

2A 10 8 5

West East

4Q J 10 9 4K 8 7

!8 7 5 3 2 !K 9 4

#6 2 #Q J 10 4 3

2K 3 2J 9


4A 5

!A Q 10

#9 8 5

2Q 7 6 4 2