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This Deal led to an argument - well, a friendly discussion - between North and South. Judge for yourself - South opened One No-trump (weak) and North raised to Three No-trumps.

West, rightly judging that neither of his four-card suits looked promising, made the good lead of the six of spades. Declarer played dummy's King and East allowed this to win. With no alternative, South played on diamonds but, when West got in, he led his second spade and was gratified to see his partner take five more tricks.

North had been following the play closely. "Why not play low from dummy at trick 1? If East clears the suit, then West has no more spades left when he gets in with a diamond." South had a counter- argument. "All very well, but I don't know that it is East who has the long spades. I have got two certain natural tricks in the suit if West has the ace."

Well, who do you think was right? North was, but they both missed the critical argument in favour of his suggestion. If West's six was the fourth highest from a long suit, it would be headed AJ76. So playing low from dummy at trick 1 can hardly lose: if West has the long spades, the nine wins; and, as the cards lie, North's suggestion also works.

And if West had led from three low spades? Unlucky! For now neither play succeeds unless the diamonds lie favourably.

LOVE ALL: dealer South


] K Q 9

_ A 9 7

+ 10 9 7

[ A 7 6 4

West East

] 6 2 ] A J 7 5 4 3

_ J 4 3 2 _ 8 6 5

+ Q 5 4 + K 2

[ J 5 3 2 [ Q 9


] 10 8

_ K Q 10

+ A J 8 6 3

[ K 10 8