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The Independent Culture
NOTHING is more disheartening than to be faced with a partner who nearly solves a difficult defensive problem but misses the final point. It takes considerable strength of character to congratulate him on making a 'good try' rather than to complain bitterly but, if the partnership is to continue, it pays.

South opened One No-trump (12-14 points) and went on to game with his maximum when North raised to Two. Against Three No-trumps, West led the two of hearts and this went to the six, ten and ace.

Not unnaturally, declarer started by running the jack of spades. East won with his king and was faced with a problem. The bidding suggested that his partner held exactly four points, which had to be two queens or an ace. Furthermore, his lead of a low heart showed an honour which had to be the queen, so he could not hold the ace of diamonds as well. To find him with the queen of clubs would not give the defence enough tricks and, quite correctly, East switched to a low diamond.

South followed with the nine and, after taking with his queen, West returned the eight of diamonds. This should have proved the perfect defence - South's ace is forced out and East has two more diamond tricks to cash when he gets in with the ace of clubs.

It did not quite end like that. When West returned the eight of diamonds, declarer covered with dummy's ten. It was an apparently pointless play, but East fell for it when he covered with his jack. Now the defenders took only two diamond tricks and declarer was home.