Bridge

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Game all; dealer South

North

410 9 6 3

!8 6 3

#A Q 10

210 7 4

West East

4Q 47 2

!J 10 9 7 !A 5 4 2

#K 9 7 6 3 #J 8 5 4

25 3 2 29 8 6

South

4A K J 8 5 4

!K Q

#2

2A K Q J

"I don't understand," remarked dummy plaintively. "How ever did you manage to go off in Six Spades?" South gritted his teeth - he and East (old rivals) were without doubt the two best players in the room and he had just seen himself fall into a neat trap.

South opened a conventional Two Clubs and showed his spades after a negative response. North supported the spades, Blackwood revealed that an ace was missing, and the final contract was Six Spades.

West led the jack of hearts and, after winning with his ace, East switched smoothly to a low diamond. This took declarer by surprise. What was going on? Why had East not made the obvious switch to a club, up to the weakness in dummy, rather than lead into the teeth of the ace-queen of diamonds?

South soon came to what he was sure was the right conclusion. After winning a club return he would have been able to play the trumps in a normal way, cashing the ace first and then, in the event of West showing out, crossing to dummy's diamond entry to take a marked finesse.

It was clear now to declarer that East had indeed started with all the missing trumps and had shrewdly removed dummy's lone entry before the bad break was exposed.

Delighted at this opportunity to score against his old adversary, and making a mental note to congratulate him on a good try, declarer took a first round finesse in trumps to go one off.

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