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I Shall start with a bridge riddle. Q: What is more irritating than watching your partner make a defensive mistake?

A: Watching him make a mistake after you have discovered a difficult but per- fect defence.

North opened One Heart, South responded One Spade, and North rebid 1NT. South explored with Two Clubs - a conventional "check-back" - and, on hearing that partner held three spades, went on to game. West led the Jack of diamonds against Four Spades, and it was clear to declarer that he had several finesses to try.

South won the lead in dummy and ran the nine of spades, losing to the King. The heart suit in dummy was an obvious threat and it looked necessary to try for tricks in clubs right away. West found the best shot of leading the Queen! It is worth noting that neither a low club nor the ace and another would have been sufficient.

Declarer covered with dummy's King and was perhaps surprised to see it win. He drew the remaining trumps and finessed in hearts, but East was able to win and return a club. West should have been able to cash two club tricks now but there was a snag. East had followed to the first club with his two, not the 10, and now, when he returned the 10, declarer played low and the suit was blocked. "I thought that my 10 might have been useful, " was East's lame excuse.

GAME ALL: dealer North


] J 9 3

_ A Q J 8 3

+ K 5

[ K 6 4

West East

] K 2 ] 8 6 5

_ 10 6 _ K 9 5 2

+ J 10 9 4 + Q 7 6 3

[ A Q 9 7 5 [ 10 2


] A Q 10 7 4

_ 7 4

+ A 8 2

[ J 8 3