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SOUTH paid insufficient attention to the play in his contract of Six Hearts and, albeit unluckily, ended with a minus score.

South opened One Heart; North responded Two Clubs. South continued with Four Diamonds - a splinter showing club support and a diamond shortage. Even though he held no outside controls, North's dull return to Five Clubs was uninspired. Unwilling to launch into a grand slam invitation with 5NT, South decided to fall back on the solidity of his own suit and Six Hearts was the final contract.

West led D5 against the slam; it was clear to declarer that the partnership was in the wrong contract. It still looked an easy resting spot, however, and declarer ruffed in hand and drew trumps in three rounds, discarding dummy's last diamond.

All too late. South spotted a hitch: the club suit might be blocked! He played off [AK but the jack did not fall and he could not get to his 12th trick. Eventually he lost two spades to go one off. If, instead of ruffing the diamond lead at trick 1, South had discarded a club from hand, the suit could have been run for five tricks and two spades discarded from hand. Even after missing this play, he'd have had another chance as long as he kept a diamond in dummy and thrown a spade on the third trump. Then he can test the clubs with the ace and king and, when the jack does not fall, as before he can throw a blocking club on dummy's losing diamond.

GAME ALL: dealer South


] Q 9 8 7

_ 6 2

+ 8 7

[ A K Q 4 2

West East

] J 5 4 ] K 10 2

_ 9 8 3 _ 5 4

+ K J 9 5 4 2 + A Q 10 6 3

[ 3 [ J 7 6


] A 6 3

_ A K Q J 10 7

+ None

[ 10 9 8 5