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"WE DO better if you hold off with your ace of diamonds," suggested West mildly after an unsuccessful defence against South's slam. "Then the squeeze doesn't work. As you saw, there was nothing that I could do." "I saw all that!" lied East unconvincingly. Then, after studying the hand more closely, "But I realised that that doesn't work either."

Between them, they had finally got it right. In practice South had opened 21 and rebid 2 No-trumps over the !1 response. North raised quantitatively to 4 No-trumps and South went on to the slam. West led the !J against 6 No-trumps and, after winning in hand, South led the #8 to dummy's king. East won with his ace (the play that was later criticised) and returned a club but now it was not difficult for declarer.

He won with the 2K, unblocked the hearts, and followed with his diamond and spade winners. At the end West had to unguard either the hearts or the clubs and the slam rolled in.

Just suppose East had followed his partner's advice and allowed declarer to win two diamond tricks. It is true that the timing would now be wrong for a squeeze but, abandoning diamonds, South now simply plays on clubs. The point being, of course, that when West wins his club trick he has lost contact with his partner and the #A never features in the play. (Yes, there is a defence, but only if West makes the wildly unlikely lead of a club and East returns the suit when he wins an early trick with his #A.)

Game all; dealer South


4K Q J 6

!A 8 5 3

#K J 6

28 5

West East

410 8 5 3 47 4

!J 10 9 7 !6 4 2

#3 2 #A 10 9 7 5 4

2Q 10 3 2J 6


4A 9 2

!K Q

#Q 8

2A K 9 7 4 2