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In an attempt to make his hazardous contract on this deal, South took what appeared to be his only legitimate chance. He succeeded because East fell into a trap which, from declarer's point of view, was completely unintentional.

With an awkward opening bid, South chose Two No-trumps and North found a sporting raise to game. West led the two of spades against 3NT; now a sight of dummy revealed to declarer that he had only eight top tricks and that the heart suit was wide open. Although playing the nine of spades from dummy might force a high honour and give a second spade stopper, it would all be too slow.

But there was just the possibility - however unlikely it might seem - that West's spades were headed by the king and queen. Closing his eyes, South called for dummy's jack.

When he opened them again, he saw that East had followed with the eight and that there were now nine tricks.

Well, what was the explanation for East's apparently strange ducking play? As the nine of spades from dummy would have been more normal, he sought an explanation for the play of the jack. Perhaps, he thought, South held ]K10 and was tempting East to cover? Then a duck would restrict declarer to one trick in the suit. It is not surprising that East missed the real purpose of South's play.