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LOOKING at all four hands, it is easy to see how the defence should have gone on this deal. However, as East was at pains to point out, it proved more difficult in practice.

South opened One Spade, West doubled and North (no shrinking violet) raised pre-emptively to Four Spades. Although West gave the matter some thought, this ended the auction. West led the ace of hearts and continued the suit. South ruffed, crossed to dummy with the jack of spades, and led the two of diamonds. East played low, the ten lost to the ace and now it was all over. West could do no better than lead a third round of hearts but, when his partner got in with the king of diamonds and returned a club, declarer was able to win and cash his diamond trick to discard dummy's remaining club.

The winning defence, which you must have spotted, is for East to go in with his king of diamonds on the first round of the suit. Then he can push through a club and establish a fourth trick for the defence while his partner has a diamond entry.

"Second hand plays low" is usually good advice, but it is difficult to construct a hand where playing the king of diamonds will cost and - as here - easy to see where it may gain.

East-West game; dealer South


] J 10 8 7 6 5

_ 4 3 2

+ J 2

[ 6 5

West East

] 3 ] 9

_ A K 10 9 5 _ J 8 7 6

+ A 9 8 + K 7 6 5

[ K J 10 9 [ 8 4 3 2


] A K Q 4 2

_ Q

+ Q 10 4 3

[ A Q 7