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This was another deal from the France-Germany final of the Philip Morris European Mixed Teams Championship. The effect of an inspired opening lead at one table was nullified by a momentary lapse of concentration at the other and led to a flat board.

By different routes, both Souths ended in 44 doubled after East had shown a good hand with length and strength in clubs. Georg Nippgen, for Germany, decided against leading his partner's suit and chose !5! East won and switched to the 2K after which declarer had no chance.

(I am reminded of a Canadian player who had bid spades and saw his partner lead a diamond after which the opponent's contract made while a spade lead would have defeated it. "My fault," he said. "If I had bid diamonds, maybe you would have led a spade!")

At the other table the lead was a more orthodox 24. Declarer won in dummy, drew trumps, and attacked diamonds. In with the ace, Catherine Saul for France underled her club honours to put her partner in with the jack and he had no difficulty in finding the heart switch to defeat the contract.

Declarer's mistake? Winning the first club! A club loser was inevitable and if he simply covers 24 with dummy's eight, West can never gain the lead. After drawing trumps, declarer can play on diamonds and one of his losing hearts can be discarded.

E-W game; dealer West


410 8 6 3

!K 4 2

#K Q 9 2

2A 8

West East

49 2 4none

!10 8 7 5 !A Q J 9

#10 8 4 #A 7 6 3

2J 9 5 4 2K Q 10 6 3


4A K Q J 7 5 4

!6 3

#J 5

27 2