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"REMINISCENT OF a 1953 par contest hand," I remarked after watching my partner go down in Four Spades on this deal. "I wasn't born then," complained South. A very feeble excuse, I thought.

East opened One Club and South overcalled with One Spade. After a pass by West, I bid Two Clubs (an unassuming cue-bid, showing a high card raise to at least Two Spades). East doubled and South volunteered Two Diamonds, suggesting extra values. This prompted me to raise to Four Spades against which West led 2J.

Declarer ruffed the club continuation and, judging that he needed both a heart trick and a ruff on the table, led a heart to the king. This lost to the ace and a third round of clubs finished matters, for now there were two trump losers. "It wouldn't have helped to draw two rounds of trumps first" observed declarer, "for when East gets in with !A, he leads a third trump."

Now, this was only partially true. Try this:

South does play off two rounds of trumps, but he takes care to end in dummy before leading a low heart away from the king. So, what does East do? (Remember, the bidding has surely marked him with !A.) If he goes in with his ace, South has two heart tricks to come and no need of any ruffs. So East plays low and !Q wins. From this point on, the play is simple - declarer crosses twice to dummy with diamonds and East is perfectly welcome to ruff. If he does, it is all over; if he does not, declarer simply trumps two more clubs in hand and reverts to diamonds.

The winning line could be classified as a avoidance play combined with a reverse dummy element, but perhaps that would have been before partner's time as well...

Love all; dealer East


4K 5 3

!K 8

#A Q 9 3

2Q 6 5 4

West East

4J 2 4Q 10 9

!J 7 4 3 2 !A 10 9

#8 5 4 2 #6

2J 2 2A K 10 9 7 3


4A 8 7 6 4

!Q 6 5

#K J 10 7