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North suffered two tiresome disappointments on this deal. First, already planning how to develop his fine hand scientifically (was he worth Two Clubs? I think so), he heard his partner open Four Hearts. Temptation was strong but he made the right decision when he raised to Six Hearts.

West led the Queen of clubs against Six Hearts and declarer started to play by cashing dummy's two top spade winners to discard his losing diamond. There was the acute problem of coming to hand to draw trumps, and now the ace of diamonds and a diamond ruff seemed safest. Then came the king of hearts, but West won immediately and led a second round of clubs. Still locked on the table, South found himself in the infuriating position of having the rest of the tricks but the inability to come to hand to draw the outstanding trumps. Whether he tried a spade or a diamond, West was bound to come to a second trump trick.

Yes, declarer was distinctly unlucky to find West with four trumps and doubletons in both diamonds and spades, but it would have cost him nothing to cash dummy's second top club before coming to hand for the first trump lead. Can you see the difference? South now has nothing but trumps left and, whatever West leads, he can ruff in hand and draw the remaining trumps.

So all of North's good work went in vain - and as always seems to happen - East-West went on to win the rubber.

NORTH-SOUTH GAME: dealer South


] A K J 6 5 3 2

_ None

+ A 8 7 4

[ A K

West East

] 9 7 ] Q 10 8

_ A 9 4 3 _ 6

+ 10 6 + K Q 9 5 2

[ Q J 10 9 2 [ 7 6 4 3


] 4

_ K Q J 10 8 7 5 2

+ J 3

[ 8 5