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The final contract of Four Spades was the same at both tables on this deal from match-play. There were problems in the play, however, and the two declarers tried different approaches with mixed success.

North opened One Club, East overcalled with One Heart, and South contented himself with a quiet One Spade. When all North could do was rebid Two Clubs, however, South jumped to game in spades and all passed. West led the jack of hearts against Four Spades and you can see South's problem: plenty of winners, but how to get to them? One declarer tried the queen from dummy. His idea, of course, was that after East had won he might well return a heart. Then the ace of clubs could be discarded and the losing diamonds thrown away on the newly unblocked clubs.

But East duly won with his king then unsportingly switched to diamonds. Now there was no escape and the contract failed.

The other declarer played low from dummy at trick 1, with the same plan in mind. East followed with the nine and yes, West led another heart. South was home and dry.

It was clear that East held the king of hearts, so why did West play the nine? To show he held an even number of cards in the suit, which could hardly be four. A clairvoyant East could have overtaken with his king of hearts and switched to diamonds.