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Love all; dealer North

North

48 4 3

!Q 10 6

#K J 7 4

2A K 10

West East

4A K 9 410 6 5 2

!K 8 4 2 !A 7 5

#9 5 3 #Q 10 8

27 6 3 2Q 4 2

South

4Q J 7

!J 9 3

#A 6 2

2J 9 8 5

THIS HARMLESS-looking deal, played by South in One No-trump, led to an instructive position where the defence, which had started well, lost its way.

North opened One Diamond, planning to rebid in no-trumps, but South got in first by responding One No-trump, ending the auction. West led !2, East won with his ace and returned a heart to his partner's king on which declarer unblocked with dummy's queen. This meant that he won the third round of the suit in hand and he followed by finessing 210. East took his queen and returned 42 to the queen and king.

It was easy enough for West to cash the 13th heart, on which dummy threw a spade, East a club and declarer a diamond. Panicking slightly, West decided to play the ace and another spade and this presented declarer with a seventh trick for the contract.

"I was afraid that South held #A and that he might have started with five clubs. If so, our only chance was that we could cash some spade tricks," West explained. It all seemed very plausible, but West had not counted the hand carefully enough. It was certainly possible that South had started with five clubs, but in that case what would his distribution have been? He was marked with three hearts and, from East's return of 42, three spades. He had discarded a diamond and, if he had come down to #A alone, he would not have been able to enjoy all of his tricks after a diamond return. Thus a diamond was safe and, as the cards lay, would have led to the defeat of the contract.

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