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Love all; dealer South


4K J 10 5

!K J 4

#K J 8

2Q 9 6

West East

49 7 4A Q 6

!9 6 2 !8 7 5 3

#10 7 6 5 3 #A 4

210 4 2 28 7 5 3


48 4 3 2

!A Q 10

#Q 9 2

2A K J

This was a delightful deal from the past, first reported 50 years ago in the American Bridge World. I shall give it to you as a problem with an unusual twist. How, with perfectly reasonable play on his part, did South end with only nine tricks in his no-trump contract after the helpful lead of a low diamond?

It looks impossible, does it not? The only possible danger, the long diamond suit, is with a hand with no entries, so South has all the time in the world to establish two spades and two diamonds to go with his other six top winners.

Now read on: East (Albert Morehead) ducked the opening diamond lead and declarer won cheaply in hand. He followed with a low spade to the ten and - wait for it - Morehead ducked again.

At this point, declarer, who did not know that the defenders had no possible future in their diamond suit but was convinced that West held 4Q, came back to hand with a top club and finessed again in spades. Be honest, would you not have played the same way? East took this one with his queen and played back a club.

Now you can see the outcome: East still has two certain entries in the shape of #A and 4A and now has time to establish (and cash!) the 13th club for the defenders fourth trick. There would have been a similar result if South had come back to hand with his second heart finesse.

Thank goodness they do not defend like that nowadays!