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The Independent Culture
JULIAN POTTAGE has carved out a pre-eminent position for himself as a writer on defence, and his book Play or Defend (Master Point Press of Canada) contains 68 problems graded into three levels of difficulty. This hand is from the "fairly easy" section. East opens One Heart, South doubles, West bids Two Hearts, passing to South whose Four Spades ends the auction.

West leads the queen of hearts and South sees eight solid tricks. Two tricks from clubs are required and the king of diamonds needs to stand up to bring in the necessary extras.

The problem is - there is only one assured entry to dummy - the 10 of spades. One possibility for a further entry is to finesse the six of spades. But West has only to insert the eight to scupper that chance.

On the bidding, East is marked with most of the outstanding points, so is almost certain to hold the ace of diamonds. Playing East for CKx or CQx will not wash, as should dummy's sole entry be used for a club finesse, with CKxxxx West ducks, and declarer ends with four losers. It becomes necessary to assume that East holds both club honours.

Therefore, after East takes the heart ace and South ruffs the heart return, play just one top spade, then the jack of clubs. East wins and returns a heart. Ruff, enter dummy with the spade 10, then lead the club 10.

If East covers, win, then return to the table via the club nine for a diamond towards the king. And should the club 10 hold, you are conveniently in dummy to play a diamond.