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Game all; dealer East

West East

4Q 4K J 6

!Q 9 7 5 3 !A K J 4

#8 4 #9 7 6 2

2Q 9 6 5 2 2K 8

MY FIRST thought about this deal was that it was too simple to write about, but on learning that two declarers in a European Championship had contrived to go down in Four Spades, I changed my mind.

Playing five-card majors, East opened One Diamond. With an awkward bid to make, South overcalled with One Spade. West doubled negatively to show length in the unbid suits, North raised pre-emptively to Two Spades, and East bid Three Hearts. Although fully aware of his partner's weakness (for, with a sound raise, he would have bid Two Diamonds), South jumped to Four Spades and all passed.

West led #8 against the spade game and, after winning, South played off the ace and another trump. This was not a success, for East won and was quick to draw a third round. Now, whatever South tried, he was a trick short.

I hope that you did better. By all means cash the ace of spades, but then you must leave the suit strictly alone. If you simply play on diamonds now, the contract cannot be defeated. If nobody ruffs, a club is discarded from dummy and the defenders come only to two trumps and, eventually, a club in the wash. If either defender is in a position to ruff a diamond, the worst that can happen to you is that they can draw just one more round of trumps. Then again, you can ruff two clubs in dummy to come to 10 tricks.