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TO PREPARE for possible bad breaks, South made a far-sighted play at trick two on this deal. The point of his play did not become clear until much later in the hand.

South opened 1NT (15-17 points) and showed his spades in response to a Stayman enquiry of Two Clubs. North raised to Three Spades, and, although only in the middle of his range, possession of good trumps and controls made it easy for South to go on to game.

West led 46 against Four Spades and it was clear that there were a number of good chances - the diamond finesse might be right or the missing clubs might break 3-3. If, however, neither possibility worked, South might need to ruff two clubs in dummy after throwing one on the third diamond. To accomplish this, he would need quick entries later on to his hand.

At trick two declarer led !7 and ran it to East's jack. A trump came back and South won. Dummy was entered with 2K, and #Q was run, losing to West's king. With no trumps left, West returned a diamond. Declarer threw a club from dummy on a high diamond and ruffed a club. It would not have helped East to over-ruff so he discarded a diamond.

As a result of his careful play at trick two, South was able to play !A and get to hand with a heart ruff without allowing East into the lead to draw dummy's last trump. Now another club ruff on the table ensured 10 tricks, whether East over-ruffed or not.