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EAST did two good things in defence on this deal but it should not have been enough. At a critical stage declarer missed a significant inference. South opened 1NT (12-14 points) and North responded Two Diamonds - a transfer to hearts. South dutifully bid Two Hearts but, with only two hearts, passed when his partner went back to 3NT.

West started with the ten of spades and, after ducking in dummy, declarer won the spade continuation while East unblocked with his jack and queen. He continued with the jack of clubs and West took his ace. He had no apparent entry with which to enjoy the thirteenth spade, but was reluctant to open either red suit so continued with a third round of spades.

South played off the king and queen of clubs and led another club to the ten on which West discarded his last spade. East was in difficulty with his next play - a diamond lead would give South two tricks in the suit, while the queen of hearts would leave a finesse position against his partner's jack. He made his first good shot when he returned the six of hearts. Declarer won in hand and cashed his last club on which three diamonds were discarded. Next came a diamond to the queen and East made another good play when he ducked smoothly. Misjudging the position completely, declarer cashed the king of hearts and led a diamond, finessing the ten to lose two more tricks.

West's discard of his fourth spade and East's failure to lead a diamond should have told South the story - obviously West did not hold the ace of diamonds!

LOVE ALL: dealer South


] A K 5

_ K 10 8 3 2

+ Q 7 6

[ J 7

West East

] 10 9 8 3 ] Q J 6

_ J 9 7 5 _ Q 6

+ J 3 2 + A 9 8 5

[ A 4 [ 10 9 3 2


] 7 4 2

_ A 4

+ K 10 4

[ K Q 8 6 5