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In a Crockfords match last year, both N-S pairs reached 6!. Oddly, the declarer getting the less favourable lead made his contract; his counterpart, after a more friendly opening, went down.

At both tables the bidding followed a similar route. South opened a Multi- Coloured 2#, showing either a Weak Two in one of the majors or a strong three-suited hand. North forced to game with 2NT and the final contract was 6! by South.

One West found the good opening lead of a trump. This meant that if he played on cross-ruff lines declarer would have only 11 tricks. Something extra had to be developed in spades and the choice lay between hoping that the king fell in three rounds or a simple finesse. Playing to the odds, South finessed 4Q and cross-ruffed his way to the slam.

The other West led #K and now, with four side winners and eight trump tricks from a cross-ruff, it all looked too easy. After winning with the #A, South cashed his top clubs, ruffed a diamond, and followed with 4A and a spade ruff. Can you see the hitch that developed? Four more ruffs in diamonds and spades followed, but now (with one high trump left in each hand) the lead was with South and they could not be made separately.

Declarer should have started by playing on spades (after cashing his club winners) rather than diamonds. Now the cross-ruff runs smoothly and the eight trumps can be made individually.

Game all; dealer South

North

4A Q 7 5 2

!K J 10 3

#7

28 5 2

West East

4K 9 6 3 4J 8 4

!7 5 2 !8 6

#K Q 10 9 #6 5 4 3

2J 9 2Q 10 6 3

South

410

!A Q 9 4

#A J 8 2

2A K 7 4

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