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SOUTH WAS so pleased at having taken an early good guess in the play of this deal that he allowed his attention to wander in what now seemed to be an easy contract.

South opened 2NT and North raised to game. West led the six of hearts against 3NT and, after winning with the king, East returned the jack. Now, was East playing a deep game with, say, _AKJxx? At any rate, if the lead was a genuine fourth highest there was no prospect of blocking the suit, and South did well to let the jack win. "Wonderful!" he thought, when East switched to a spade.

Declarer's joy was short-lived: he tried the minor suits in succession and, finding them both 4-1, ended with only eight tricks.

How should South have continued after winning the switch with a top spade? He should start by cashing the ace and queen of clubs to discover the bad break. Then - the key play - he should cash his other top spade before trying the diamonds. By then he will have found out that West had started with six hearts, four clubs and at least two spades - and therefore, at most, one diamond.

Now, after crossing to the king of diamonds, he leads the 10 of diamonds with the intention of running it if it is not covered. And if East does cover? Then there is still the king of clubs in dummy as an entry to finesse against the nine of diamonds. Which minor to test first was clear: while there was no possible finesse position in clubs, there was one in diamonds.

GAME ALL: dealer South


] 8 4 2

_ 10 3

+ K 10 4 2

[ K 6 4 3

West East

] 6 5 ] Q J 10 9 7 3

_ A 9 8 6 5 2 _ K J

+ 5 + J 9 7 6

[ J 10 8 7 [ 9


] A K

_ Q 7 4

+ A Q 8 3

[ A Q 5 2