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The Independent Culture
ONE DEFENDER false-carded on this deal; the other should have done so as well, but declarer still managed to misjudge the situation.

South opened 1 no-trumps (13-15 points) and North raised directly to game. West led !3 against 3 no-trumps ("My hearts were better than my spades!"), although most players prefer to lead the second highest from a suit not headed by an honour, and South won East's queen with his ace. There was no rush to test the diamonds, so declarer started with a low club to the seven, ten and ace. East might have cost the defenders a trick by returning a heart (if, say, West had led from !10 8 5 3) so he exited passively with a spade which declarer won on the table.

South came to hand with #K and led a second club to which West followed with the nine. Declarer, taken in by East's play of 2A on the second trick, put up dummy's queen instead of ducking which would have led to an overtrick as the cards lie. East took his king and cleared the hearts. Now there was no way for South to come to a ninth trick.

Declarer had not taken advantage of West's culpable failure to play 2J (the card that he was now known to hold) on the second round of the suit. When West had followed with the nine, only the king and jack were outstanding. The suit was more likely to break 3-2 than 4-1 and, even if West had played the nine from a remaining holding of 2K J 9, he might fail to clear the hearts and then South would still have time to develop a club trick.