BRIDGE

Defending against Four Spades on this deal, East should have had dummy's hearts completely bottled up. However, he allowed declarer to come to a vital trick in the suit.

East opened One Heart, South contented himself with a simple overcall of One Spade, and West passed. North raised to Three Spades and, although this was pre-emptive in intent, South felt that he had enough to go on to game. West led the four of hearts against Four Spades, East won with the king, and South dropped the queen.

It was clear to East that his partner's lead was a singleton so, to demonstrate his contempt for South's feeble false-card, he cashed the ace of hearts and continued with a third heart. Declarer ruffed high, drew trumps in two rounds ending in dummy, and cashed the jack of hearts, throwing a club. Next came the singleton diamond from the table and East's ace of diamonds was the last trick for the defence.

East should have used his knowledge of the heart position to better advantage. He must lead the nine of hearts at trick 2, not the ace. West ruffs as expected and, taking the nine of hearts as a suit preference signal, puts East in again with the ace of diamonds. Another low heart lead forces declarer to ruff high. As East's ace of hearts is still intact, South gets no discards on the hearts and has to lose a club, two hearts and a diamond.

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