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Last week I described the fortunes of the declarers in Four Spades on this deal from a pairs competition. It was not, however, the universal contract.

The bidding had started in the same way at most tables. South had opened One Spade, been raised to Two Spades, and had rebid Three No-trumps.

When North passed this (as he was likely to do if South's spade suit might be only four cards in length), the opening lead was the jack of clubs and declarer won East's king with his ace. The natural start was to tackle diamonds and, when the queen was led, East (noting with satisfaction that his spade holding guaranteed that dummy would not have a side entry to the diamonds) held off. He held off on the next diamond lead as well, on which West discarded a heart, but now South (with two diamond tricks in the bag) switched his attack and started on spades.

Now it was too late for the defenders to do anything and declarer came to nine tricks with four spades, one heart, two diamonds and two clubs.

At only one table did East come up with the right answer when he won the first diamond lead and cleared the clubs. There was only one chance for declarer now. He had five diamond tricks but it was hopeless to play on spades and after taking his diamonds he had to try the heart finesse. No joy, and the contract was one down.



] K 8 3

_ 8 5 2

+ K 10 9 8 6 2

[ 3

West East

] 7 5 ] A 9 4

_ K 9 6 4 _ 10 7 3

+ 4 + A 7 3

[ J 10 9 7 5 2 [ K 8 6 4


] Q J 10 6 2

_ A Q J

+ Q J 5

[ A Q