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I CAME by this hand in curious circumstances. While my husband was in hospital in Spain an American lady discovered that I was a bridge journalist, having watched me transcribe a column in the waiting-room. She had been shown this hand on the transatlantic crossing by another bridge player on board, then her husband had suffered a small stroke and the couple had been brought off the ship at Malaga.

"South is in Six Diamonds and West leads the eight of hearts, explained as second highest of four small. East takes his ace and returns the jack of clubs. Can you find . . ." At this point the doctor pronounced the lady's husband well enough to leave the intensive care unit, and I never saw either of them again.

Although it looks as if there must be a spade loser, there are interesting squeeze possibilities, owing to the distribution of the heart suit.

Win the club switch in hand, play off five rounds of trumps, discarding a spade from dummy on the fifth, then enter dummy with the ace of clubs. Both defenders must keep all their hearts, therefore neither can retain three spades.

In the end position, if West had retained three spades and discarded a heart, cashing the queen of spades and following with the ten, covered by the jack and ruffed, pins the nine in West's hand and promotes the seven. And if East had kept three spades and discarded a heart, the queen of hearts followed by a ruff of the seven brings down the jack and establishes the ten.

North-South game;

dealer South


4K 8 6

!Q 10 7 3

#A Q 10 7

2A 8

West East

4J 7 3 4Q 10 9

!9 8 4 2 !A J 6 5

#5 3 #6

2Q 9 6 4 2J 10 5 3 2


4A 5 4 2


#K J 9 8 4 2

2K 7