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WITH A miserable suit of your own, it's often difficult to decide what action to take when you know your side has the balance of points.

North opened with One No-trumps (12-14), East doubled and South ran to Two Hearts. All clear-cut so far. It was West who had the nightmare hand. To bid Two Spades might be disastrous; Two No-trumps was an option, yet he did not like to let vulnerable opponents off the hook. He chose to double, and East, expecting partner to have better hearts, elected to pass.

West led the queen of clubs and the defence took the first three tricks in that suit, after which East switched to the king of diamonds. Declarer let this hold but won the diamond continuation, then tried to come to hand with a diamond ruff. West gratefully overruffed the nine with his king and the defence still had a spade trick to come.

South should have seen the danger signals when West followed to partner's king and queen of diamonds with the jack and ten. If, instead of trying to create an entry to his hand for the heart finesse by ruffing the third diamond he discards a spade on it, effectively exchanging one loser for another, he can then safely come to hand with a spade ruff. Now he takes the heart finesse and makes his contract.

East mildly remonstrated with his partner.

"I think I agree with your double if South's escape suit had been a minor," he said. "But, over a major, the possibility of doubling them into game is too dangerous."

Game all; dealer North


4A 7 5

!A Q 8 7

#A 6 4

210 9 8

West East

410 9 8 6 4 4K Q 2

!K 6 4 !2

#J 10 #K Q 9 8 3 2

2Q J 7 2A K 4


4J 3

!J 10 9 5 3

#7 5

26 5 3 2