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The Independent Culture
THIS was a neat hand from a recent match - both declarers made their slam, but one had a more difficult task after an awkward lead.

At each table South opened 1NT (15-17 points) and North responded Two Spades - a transfer to clubs. With a fine fit for his partner's suit, South "broke" the transfer by rebidding 2NT instead of a dutiful Three Clubs and, although the bidding at the two tables diverged after that, the final contract was Six Clubs by South.

One West led his singleton trump and declarer had an easy run. He drew trumps, eliminated the spades, and played off the ace, king, and another diamond. If East had won the third diamond, he would either have to lead a heart or concede a ruff and discard; and, if West had won with the queen, there was still the heart finesse in reserve. In fact, the queen of diamonds dropped on the second round and it was all over.

The other declarer faced a more daunting task after the lead of the jack of hearts. The finesse lost and a heart came back. Superficially, the best chance of avoiding a diamond loser lay in finding East with both the queen and the ten when the double finesse would bring home the bacon, but South saw that there was no rush.

He drew trumps and eliminated both major suits. By now he had a fair count of East's hand - he'd started with six hearts, two clubs, and at least three spades. This left room for at most two diamonds, so, when +5 from the table saw East follow with the three, the only chance lay in finding him with +Q3 doubleton. And there it was - result, a flat board!