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There was a defence against 4S on this deal, but West, with a very human reluctance to throw away high cards that might easily have been tricks, did not find it at the table. You must allow him some credit, however, for spotting what he should have done, albeit half an hour too late.

South opened 14, North responded 2# and East overcalled with 2!. In spite of the void in his partner's suit and his shortage of points, South jumped to 34. North explored with 42 but subsided when South could only bid 44.

Although it must have been tempting to try a top diamond, West dutifully led his partner's suit. East cashed his three winners while West discarded two clubs, then switched to a diamond, Declarer ruffed, unblocked the queen of trumps, then came to hand with a club. After drawing trumps he was able to claim.

Any thoughts? West can defeat the contract by discarding his #A and #K on the hearts! After that, a diamond lead from East guarantees a trump trick for his partner. If South ruffs low, West can over-ruff; if South ruffs high, West discards and later makes a trump.

It is worth noting that a fourth round of hearts from East is not good enough " declarer ruffs low in hand and, whatever West tries there are no more tricks for the defence.

Alan Hiron writes on this page every Monday, Wednesday and Friday as well as in the Saturday and Sunday papers.