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I CAME across this deal scrawled on an old scorecard. The system on the front suggested it was at least 20 years old but, for the life of me, I could not remember why the deal (with all the spot cards!) had been noteworthy. A nearby auction (1# - 14; 2 no-trumps All Pass) seemed relevant.

So, presumably West had led !7 and, after taking his ace and king, East had switched. To a spade or a club? Aha! He had chosen 2J and this had gone to the queen, king and ace. With no side entry a spade finesse would not have helped and the best practical bet seemed to be finding 4Q falling in two.

But the two top spades saw West discard a diamond. The heart position seemed clear - perhaps East held no more than two diamonds, in which case some sort of end-play in the black suits might set in. So I had cashed #A K (the fall of East's queen looked promising) and led 410 to dummy's jack.

East did his best by winning with 4Q and getting off lead with a spade. I took the spade winners and on the last East seemed to have a problem. With all four hands in view, you can see what this was; he is left with 210 8 7 2 and, if he parts with 22, a low club from dummy puts him in and he has to concede the last trick to dummy's 29. Foreseeing this, East unblocked with 27, keeping 210 8 2. Beautiful! I was now able to exit with dummy's 29 (pinning West's six) and, after cashing 28 (on which I whimsically followed with dummy's four), East had to lead 22 to dummy's three at trick 13. That was why I had preserved the hand so carefully.