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West made a technical error in defence on this deal from a pairs competition but, illustrating how important it is to keep your partner happy and confident, East was quick to point out that the mistake did not cost. Surprise, surprise! The partnership went on to win the event - a lesson to us all.

South opened One No-trump, North bid Two Hearts (a transfer to spades) and then showed his diamond suit after South's dutiful Two Spades. With no great liking for either of his partner's suits, South went back to Three No-trumps and all passed.

West led the six of hearts and East encouraged with the nine. Any attempt to develop tricks in spades would be too slow but it was still an excellent contract - either a 3-3 club break or a 3-2 diamond division would lead to at least nine tricks.

Declarer started by playing the ace of diamonds and, when East followed with the jack, took the precaution of unblocking with his eight. A low diamond followed, East showed out and the nine lost to West's ten. As a result of his careful play in diamonds, declarer was now able to lead the two and finesse the six to land his contract.

Suddenly West realised what he had done. If he had let the nine of diamonds win, declarer would have been held to only three tricks in the suit. East said consolingly: "Once declarer has three diamond tricks in the bag, he will simply play on clubs and so still make his contract."

LOVE ALL: Dealer South


] J 10 9 8 2

_ A

+ A K 7 6 3

[ 7 2

West East

] K 3 ] A 6 5 4

_ J 8 7 6 3 _ Q 9 5 4

+ Q 10 5 4 + J

[ 10 5 [ J 9 8 4


] Q 7

_ K 10 2

+ 9 8 2

[ A K Q 6 3