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NORTH-SOUTH solved their bidding problems satisfactorily on this deal after a pre-emptive opening by East, but then South played too hastily to the first trick.

East opened Three Hearts and South gave consideration to a jump to Four Spades. His first thought was that any ace and a spade tolerance in his partner's hand would offer a fair play for game, and North would surely pass a simple overcall of Three Spades. Then he thought again; if that was all his partner held, surely West would take some action; also, a jump to Four Spades might excite his partner too much. So he chose Three Spades which worked well when he was raised to game, and all passed.

West led !10 against Four Spades and the jack lost to the king. East did well to return a trump at this point: the finesse failed and another trump came back. Now, when 2K lost to the ace, West was able to lead a third round of trumps.

Not dead yet, declarer played off his remaining trumps but West got it right when he kept all his clubs and left East to take care of the diamonds. Now, when the clubs failed to break 3-3 and there proved to be no squeeze, the defenders took the last trick.

I mentioned that declarer had played too quickly at trick 1. Suppose, instead of !J, dummy plays low? If East leaves his partner on lead the defence can get in only one trump lead without losing their trick in the suit. Then South can negotiate a club ruff in dummy. If East overtakes !10, declarer has sufficient entries to establish a heart trick for a second club discard.

Love all; dealer East


49 6 3

!Q J 8

#A K 9 8 2

24 2

West East

4K 7 4 42

!10 4 !A K 9 7 6 3 2

#Q 10 7 4 #J 6 5

2A 10 9 5 27 6


4A Q J 10 8 5



2K Q J 8 3