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Never despair at this game! East was furious with himself for falling into an old trap on this deal from match play, allowing his opponents to make a vulnerable slam that (at one point) might have failed by two tricks. In an odd way, his team actually gained on the hand.

Playing five-card majors and a 15-17 no-trump, North opened 1D. East overcalled with 1H and, after showing both of their suits, both Souths ended in a dubious 6S against which West led H10.

Perhaps the East players should have doubled the final contract to suggest an unusual lead and a sight of dummy confirmed their suspicions. Mind you, it did not look to declarer as though the lack of a club lead offered more than a temporary respite.

One declarer had a bright idea. As from East's point of view the lead could have been from H10,9,4, he drew three rounds of trumps ending in dummy and led H2. Convinced that this would be ruffed, East played low and South won with his nine. Now four of his clubs went away on dummy's winners.

At the other table, declarer realised that he had a good chance to make his contract by force. East, for his overcall, was likely to hold HQ and CA,K. So South won the lead with HA and played off all his trumps and diamonds. East had to keep HQ,8 and, as a result, just one club. If he retained CA or CK, he could be thrown in to lead a heart into dummy's tenace, so he valiantly discarded both his top clubs (playing his partner for the queen) with the result that South made an overtrick.

N-S game; dealer North


4J 7 6

!A K J 2

#A K Q 10

210 3

West East

48 4 3 45 2

!10 4 !Q 8 7 6 5

#8 6 5 4 3 #9 7 2

27 5 4 2A K 2


4A K Q 10 9

!9 3


2Q J 9 8 6