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The Independent Culture
One of the curiosities of this game is that the most natural-looking play in the world can be completely wrong. This deal illustrates the point well. I am quite sure that nine players out of 10 would go astray.

North passed, East (playing five-card majors) opened One Spade and South, giving up hope of better things, overcalled with Four Hearts. This sounded pre-emptive to West and, with little excuse, he doubled to end the auction and led 44.

Declarer played the jack from dummy - would you not do the same? - and East intelligently played low. South could hardly play another spade at this point for fear of ruffs and he continued with three top trumps and exited with a fourth.

West won and made the right switch to a club. After that, there was no way for declarer to escape a spade loser and careful defence by East led to a (very fortunate) one trick defeat.

You have all the clues. How should South have played? The 48 from dummy at trick one is the right card! This is covered by the nine but when in dummy later, after clearing the trumps, declarer can run the 4J. Whether this is covered or not, he now loses no spade tricks and duly lands his contract. E-W game; dealer North


4J 10 8


#7 6 3 2

2A Q 7 5 2

West East

44 4Q 9 6 5 2

!J 9 6 5 !4 2

#Q 10 9 5 #A K J

2J 9 6 3 2K 8 4


4A K 7 3

!A K Q 10 8 7

#8 4