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Given a clear run, South would probably have got home in 44 on this deal. Trying to be over-subtle, he overlooked a simple point and allowed the defenders the chance they needed.

After a pass by East, South opened One Spade and went on to game after a raise to Three by North. West led #Q against Four Spades and it looked very much to declarer as though there might be four losers: two diamonds and two clubs. There were, however, chances which seemed to have improved when East overtook the lead with #K and switched to !J.

South won in hand, crossed to !A, and ruffed a heart. A trump to dummy was followed by another heart ruff then, after drawing the last trump, declarer exited with a diamond and waited for the defenders to open the club suit.

They did the best they could. West won the diamond and got off lead with 210 - the right card and obviously much better than conceding a ruff and discard. Declarer covered with dummy's jack and won East's queen with his ace. This did not work out well for West still held 2K,8 over South's 29,3 and two more tricks had to be lost.

What was the clue that South had missed? East had passed as dealer and could hardly hold 2K,Q as well as #AK and !J. The only chance was to play him for 2Q,x or 2K,x. So, instead of covering the ten with dummy's jack, the right play was to win with the ace and exit with a club, hoping for the best. Then the ruff and discard duly materialises.