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When a contract seems to depend on a reasonable break in a long suit, you can sometimes test the suit so that other possibilities remain, even if it doesn't behave. Here, South overlooks that possibility.

Playing five-card majors and a strong no-trump, South was constrained to open One Diamond. West overcalled with Two Spades (weak) and North bid Three Clubs. South bid Three No-trumps and wasn't happy when North tried for a slam with Four Diamonds. He bid Four No-trumps; North didn't get the message, but at least they ended in the reasonable contract of Six No-trumps, against which West led the king of spades.

After winning, South returned the jack of spades and threw a diamond from dummy. West led a third spade and this time dummy discarded a heart. Declarer next tried the king and another club, but when West showed out he was in trouble and ended a trick short.

Try the effect of leading the two of clubs to the ace at trick two! The next club lead exposes the position and now, when South leads the jack of spades from hand, he has a good discard from dummy - a now useless club. With the diamonds dividing kindly and the heart finesse right, there are now 12 tricks. Furthermore, if the clubs had proved to be 3- 2, declarer would have been in the right hand to establish his twelfth trick from the spade suit with no need to rely on either the diamond break or the heart finesse.

NORTH-SOUTH GAME: dealer South


] 7

_ J 4

+ A K Q 5

[ A Q 9 8 5 3

West East

] K Q 9 8 6 5 ] 4 3

_ 7 5 2 _ K 9 8 6

+ J 9 3 + 10 8 2

[ 4 [ J 10 7 6


] A J 10 2

_ A Q 10 3

+ 7 6 4

[ K 2