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TO WIN a big pairs event you certainly need a little luck, but it has to be backed up with good technique. This deal, played by John Collings in Juan-les-Pins some years ago, is a good example.

John, as South, opened One No-trump and was raised to game. West led the king of spades against Three No- trumps and declarer found himself looking at eight sure tricks.

There was clearly no rush to test the diamonds, and South started by ducking not only the lead but the spade continuation as well.

Rather than make a dangerous switch, West led a third spade and East discarded a heart. It was now safe to let East gain the lead and declarer continued with a low club to the six, ten and jack.

East switched to the queen of hearts and yet again South held off. The heart suit posed no threat but by ducking he was able to get a complete count of the hand. He won the next heart lead, tested the clubs unsuccessfully, and followed with his second heart winner.

Now the position was clear - West had started with five spades, two hearts, two clubs and therefore exactly four diamonds. The rest was easy. The king and ace of diamonds were followed by the marked finesse of the ten for the ninth trick. It was nothing flashy, but it represented a comfortably above-average score, for several other declarers in the same contract had failed.


S. 7 4 2

H. A 7 4

D. K Q 10 5

C. A 10 7


S. A 8 3

H. K 6 3

D. A 6 2

C. K 8 5 2


S. K Q J 10 5

H. 8 5

D. J 9 7 3

C. 6 4


S. 9 6

H. Q J 10 9 2

D. 8 4

C. Q J 9 3