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EAST-WEST SEEMED to have found an excellent defence against South's game contract on this deal. So we had but, to our intense irritation, declarer had the last word. Still, as West I had the consolation of acquiring a good column hand...

South opened One Club, I overcalled with One Heart, and North bid One Spade. South rebid Two No-trumps and, hoping for a spade preference, North explored with Three Hearts. South could not oblige and went back to Three No-trumps. Although North brooded for some while, he passed, and I led !10 (a "strong" lead).

This went to the two, eight and king and declarer (playing me for 4K) continued with 4A. Well, I did not want to disappoint him, so I dropped my king under his ace. This was not sheer flamboyance; though it was clear that my partner held little, he might hold 4J and two others. And, if he did not, there would be no defence.

Seeing the danger, declarer abandoned the spades and decided the clubs might profitably be developed. After crossing to #K and cashing the ace, he led 29 - planning to take two finesses in the suit. But my partner was on the ball, and covered the nine with his jack.

South won and, though a club finesse against the queen was still a possibility, cashed #Q before crossing to dummy's winning spade. On the fall of the cards he judged (correctly) that I had started with a 2-5-3-3 distribution for, with a six-card heart suit, I might have pre-empted. So he exited with !Q! I could take my four heart tricks but was then reduced to leading a club into declarer's tenace.

Love all; dealer West


410 8 7 4 2

!7 6 2

#A K

29 5

West East

4K 6 4J 9 5

!A J 10 9 4 !8 5

#J 10 4 #9 8 7 2

2Q 7 2 2J 8 6 3


4A 3

!K Q 3

#Q 6 5 3

2A K 10 4