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The Independent Culture
'I DON'T MIND being squeezed when I have some high cards,' commented East generously after this deal from a recent pairs event, 'but I resent it bitterly when I have very little.' The hand also highlighted a common defensive ambiguity.

South opened One Diamond (perhaps to discourage a lead when he subsequently rebid in no-trumps) and, after a spade response, heard his One No-trump raised to game.

West led the seven of hearts against Three No- trumps and dummy's queen won, East following with the three. Now, did the play of the three merely discourage (as with 7 3) or did it signal length - three cards? East and West had different opinions on the matter, for when declarer came to hand with the ace of spades and led a diamond, West took his ace and, rather than continue hearts, switched disastrously to the nine of clubs.

Perhaps you can see the sequel - the ten went to the jack and queen. Declarer crossed to dummy with a spade and led the seven of clubs. East covered with the king and South won with the ace, pinning West's six in the process. Now the ace of hearts, two top diamonds and the last two spades left East facing an impossible discard from the nine of diamonds and the 5 4 of clubs. Discarding in front of declarer, who held D8, C8 3, he had to give in and South ended with an unlikely 12 tricks and a top score.

If only West could have been sure of the heart position, he could safely have led the suit again and the club suit would have been left for declarer to tackle.