Bridge

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Game all; dealer West

North

4K 7 6 4 3

!A 8 3

#7 6 4

27 2

West East

4A J 5 4Q 10 9

!Q 9 6 !J 10 5 2

#Q 10 8 2 #9 5

2J 8 4 2Q 10 9 3

South

48 2

!K 7 4

#A K J 3

2A K 6 5

North's sarcasm was better than his bidding on this deal. His remark: "I suppose you were hoping that the missing seven clubs divided 3-3", was surely uncalled for. Mind you, his partner had completely overlooked the best chance.

South opened 1NT (16-18 points) and North bid 2! - a transfer to spades. South dutifully bid 24 which North should have passed. However, having shown a five-card spade suit, he pushed on to 2NT. With a maximum, South could hardly be blamed for bidding 3NT.

West led #2 and, even after this good start, there were only seven tricks in sight. An eighth came when a spade to the king won, but that was the end. Declarer ducked this and that, but there was no squeeze. The contract failed by one trick.

Well, how should South have played after winning cheaply with #J? He needed two tricks from the spades and, although leading to the king produced one, there was only one more entry to dummy and no way now to take advantage of the favourable spade division.

The only chance lay in finding the spades 3-3 with the ace onside - which is how the cards lay. To take advantage, declarer should have led a low spade from hand at trick two and, no matter what West played, put on a small card from dummy. He wins whatever the defenders return in hand and now leads his remaining spade towards the king. When it wins, he gives up a spade and, as dummy still has an entry, he in fact comes to an overtrick.

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