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South made heavy weather of 1 NT on this deal. Instead of trying an obscure end-play, he had a simple and practical route to success which was at least odds-on.

Playing a 12-14 point weak No-trump, North opened 12. East bid 14, South passed and West (who might easily have bid 1NT) passed too. As the partnership were playing negative doubles and his partner might have held a fair hand with length in spades, North felt compelled to re-open with a double.

After a pass by East, South considered passing the double himself but settled for 1NT to end the auction. West led 4J and, with easy tricks in spades given by the lead, declarer played low from dummy. It would have been all over if East had taken his king, but he let South's queen win!

Declarer tried hard, ducking this and ducking that, but the defenders soon switched to hearts, driving out his entry to a possible long diamond, and when nothing developed, he ended with just six tricks.

Declarer should win the opening lead with dummy's ace and play a second spade, finessing the eight when East plays low. This will bring in the contract unless West started with precisely 4J,9.

Game all; dealer South


4A 4

!8 7 6 3

#A 7 4

2A K 5 3

West East

4J 3 4K 9 7 6 5

!K J 10 5 !Q 4

#Q 10 5 #K J 9

2Q 10 7 6 2J 8 2


4Q 10 8 2

!A 9 2

#8 6 3 2

29 4