Bridge

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South did two bad things on this deal. The first need not have been too expensive; the second proved very costly.

East opened 3NT - a new idea, showing a four level pre-empt in a minor with a broken suit (not the traditional solid one). South doubled and West, who had no illusions about which minor his partner held, retreated to Four Clubs. North doubled and now South thought that he had a problem. Concerned that the prospective penalty (which, in fact, would have been 800 points) might not compensate for a vulnerable game, he bid Four Spades and all passed.

West led _J Against Four Spades and, after winning dummy's king with his ace, it was not difficult for East to divine the club situation and he returned [3 for his partner to ruff. Now West switched to +J and, after winning, South drew trumps in four rounds, throwing two diamonds and a heart from dummy.

South now knew that East had started with eight clubs, two spades, and three cards in hearts and diamonds. He had shown up with one card in each, and so had only one unknown card. If it were a diamond an extra trick could be established, but when declarer tried the suit East showed out and the contract failed. Had East begun with a singleton heart, he would surely have returned [10 for a ruff, and then ruffed a heart. But instead of testing diamonds, South could have played a heart to dummy and ruffed a heart with his last trump, leaving East with clubs. Now comes a finesse of [Q - although this will lose - and on the enforced club return, West is squeezed in hearts and diamonds.

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