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The defence made no fewer than three mistakes against Four Hearts on this deal. West was quick to admit responsibility for two of them - neither of which were at all obvious - but East's far more glaring error escaped self-criticism.

South opened One Heart, North raised to Three Hearts, and South went on to game. West led [Q against Four Hearts and dummy's ace won. Declarer continued with the ace of hearts and a finesse of the jack. After winning with his queen, East cashed his club king and switched to the jack of spades. This went to the queen and ace, and West returned the four of spades to the eight and the king.

Declarer now ruffed his losing club and followed with two more rounds of trumps, discarding dummy's last spade. This left East struggling for a discard from ]10 +J1093. He parted with his last spade, hoping that his partner held the three and declarer the two. No joy - so now declarer (who had followed the spade pips closely) was able to make the last trick with his three of spades.

West could have done better by holding off the ace of spades when the suit was first led, or, alternatively (in a way that was difficult to foresee), returning the two of spades instead of the four after he had won with the ace. And East's blunder? Rushing to cash the king of clubs - which could hardly run away - before attacking spades.

LOVE ALL: dealer South


] 7 6 5

_ K J 8 7

+ Q 8 7 4

[ A 5

West East

] A 4 2 ] J 10 9 8

_ 10 4 2 _ Q 3

+ 6 2 + J 10 9 3

[ Q J 10 9 2 [ K 6 3


] K Q 3

_ A 9 6 5

+ A K 5

[ 8 7 4