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The Independent Culture
YOU MAY wonder why both North-South pairs wandered into a 23-point no-trump game on this deal. The reason was it occurred in one of the first duplicate matches (in the late 1920s), when the Milton Work Point Count was rarely used.

South opened One No-trump and North raised to Two. South went on to Three No-trumps and West led the four of spades to the two, king and ace.

One declarer started on clubs, and ran the ten to East's singleton king. Calculating that the defenders might not make enough spade tricks, East switched smartly to the queen of hearts.

You can see the sequel - the defence now took five heart tricks followed by three spades to add to the club already in the bag and the result was five down.

At the other table declarer tried the diamonds first, planning to finesse into West - the safe hand. The appearance of the queen was a bonus and started South thinking. West had apparently led from a four-card suit, so the singleton diamond almost certainly placed him with four hearts and four clubs. The play of the ace of clubs, therefore, was clearly marked. If West held the king he was welcome to it for, on lead, he could do no harm. By declining the club finesse South gained an unexpected windfall when the king dropped and he ended with eleven tricks - seven more than his counterpart!