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Are you in the habit of opening the bidding with hands like South's on this deal? I always do for, if I pass, the auction usually seems to start on the lines of Three Diamonds, Four Clubs, Five Diamonds before I have a chance to show my suits. South adopted my philosophy on this deal but missed his way in the play.

South opened One Spade. North started quietly enough with Two Diamonds but, after finding that South held 11 or 12 cards in the major suits, plunged (via Blackwood) to Seven Spades.

West led the jack of clubs against the grand slam. Declarer tried the finesse unsuccessfully, and ruffed East's king. Good fortune came when the trumps broke 2-2 and, with eight hearts between the two hands, it looked natural to attempt to establish the suit. This did not prove a success when East showed out on the second round and South had to go one off.

Although Declarer's side held only six diamonds between them (as opposed to eight hearts), it would have cost nothing to test this suit first. So, after drawing trumps, the ace, king of diamonds and a diamond ruff reveal the 4-3 break. (If the diamonds had divided less evenly, there would still have been time to try the hearts.)

Now the play is simple - with the ace of hearts and a heart ruff as entries to the table, the long diamond can be enjoyed and 13 tricks roll in.

EAST-WEST GAME: Dealer South


] K 6 4

_ A 3

+ A K 7 5 4

[ A Q 2

West East

] Q 2 ] J 5

_ Q J 5 2 _ 7

+ Q 6 3 + J 10 9 2

[ J 10 9 8 [ K 7 6 5 4 3


] A 10 9 8 7 3

_ K 10 9 8 6 4

+ 8

[ none