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MY partner only spotted the winning defence on this deal from last month's European Community Bridge Championships after the hand was over writes Alan Hiron.

Game all; dealer East


S A K 10 8 2

H 8 3 2

D K 6 3

C 7 4


6 4 3


Q 7 4 2

A Q 8 2


J 9 7

9 6 4

J 8 5

J 9 6 3


Q 5

K J 10 7 5

A 10 9

K 10 5

South opened One Heart, West doubled, North bid One Spade and East passed. South rebid One No-trump and North raised to Three Hearts and South went on to game. With an unattractive lead against Four Hearts, West led the two of diamonds and the jack lost to the ace. Declarer could have succeeded by simply leading top trumps from hand, but instead he decides to rely on East holding the queen of trumps. Three rounds of spades gave him a club discard but now a heart to the jack lost to the queen.

West's next play was critical - a low diamond is no good, for declarer wins in hand and plays a second trump. West takes this and plays another diamond to dummy's ace and declarer leads a winning spade from the table. East can ruff, but South overruffs and the eight of hearts is an entry to the last spade, on which a club is thrown.

Using the queen of diamonds instead of a low one, dummy is forced to take his entry prematurely. To avoid two club losers, declarer may lead a winning spade from dummy. East throws a diamond and West, after trumping with the ace of hearts, gives his partner a diamond ruff.