THIS HAND was the subject of much discussion - and side bets - and l was called in as final arbiter.

After East had opened One Club, South ended in Four Spades.

West led a small club to dummy's nine, king from East, and declarer ruffed. He entered dummy with a trump and played 210, covered by the ace, and again ruffed. A second trump to dummy was followed by 2J on which South discarded a heart - declarer could afford to lose a trick to West, who could not profitably attack diamonds.

West won with the queen and now played a heart to North's ace. !J came next, covered with the king and ruffed. Now dummy was re-entered with its last trump and two diamonds were discarded on !10 and !9, declarer ultimately losing just two diamonds and a club.

East first claimed that the contract would have been defeated if West had led 2Q. No - because declarer simply lets this hold, throwing a heart from hand. Next East asserted that the opening lead of a heart breaks the contract. Again, no - declarer plays dummy's ace, then, as before, discards his second heart whenever East does not cover a club.

"So there's no way to defeat it," said East sadly, getting out his wallet.

"Try a trump lead," I suggested. "Now declarer is one entry short to dummy. He can play as before but, having established dummy's hearts for diamond discards, he lacks the final entry to cash them."

East rapidly put away his wallet and West paid up instead.

Love all; dealer East


4Q J 9

!A J 10 9

#8 7 2

2J 10 9

West East

46 3 45

!6 5 4 2 !K 7 3

#A 9 6 #Q J 10

2Q 6 3 2 2A K 8 7 5 4


4A K 10 8 7 4 2

!Q 8

#K 5 4 3