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A PLEASI NG feature of this week's deal was that the unsuccessful declarer was the first to congratulate West on his smart defence. All too often unsuccessful declarers ascribe their failure to 'pulling the wrong card', or partner's bidding.

South opened One Heart, West overcalled with Two Diamonds, and North bid Two Spades. This was non-forcing (stronger hands would have been introduced via a negative double) but it did not deter South from jumping to Four Hearts.

West led his singleton spade and, after winning in handdeclarer started on trumps. West won the second round and reflected. He expected to make his two aces and (eventually) the king of diamonds, but where was the fourth trick? He did not hope to find his partner with the ace of diamonds, but he might hold the jack of clubs.

West switched to the queen of clubs and, when the king held, declarer found himself locked in dummy and unable to draw the last trump. A diamond to the ace would have left him with two losers in the suit so, despairingly, he led a low club from the table. East, who could by now appreciate South's problem, went in with his jack and gave West his spade ruff.

Now West had a safe exit with his ace of clubs and could wait patiently for his king of diamonds to score the setting trick.

Game all; dealer South


S. K 9 7 6 5 3

H. 5 3

D. Q 5

C. K 10 4


S. A 4

H. K Q J 10 8 7

D. A 10 3

C. 7 5


S. 2

H. A 9 2

D. K J 8 7 6 2

C. A Q 9


S. Q J 10 8

H. 6 4

D. 9 4

C. J 8 6 3 2