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"THE old tricks are the best ones," remarked East sadly after declarer had made his "impossible" slam on this deal. It is fair to say that many players would have fallen into the trap in just the same way.

South opened One Spade, West overcalled with Two Diamonds, and North doubled. Not at all in the modern style, this was not "negative", but for penalties. It would have collected 500 points if South had passed, but his hand looked more attractive for offence than defence and he jumped to Three Hearts.

Now both North and South did too much bidding and the final contract was Six Spades. West led the queen of diamonds against the slam and declarer's prospects looked bleak. There was an inescapable heart loser and the possibility of finding either defender with the queen and ten of trumps alone seemed the only chance of success. However, after winning with dummy's king of diamonds, declarer followed with the ace. It looked to East as though the plan was to discard a singleton losing club, so he ruffed low. After a cheap over-ruff, South drew trumps and now lost only to the ace of hearts.

It would have been dangerous (though effective) for East to discard on the second top diamond but, if he does ruff, it could hardly have cost to have tried the ten - then the defenders would have still come to their natural trump trick.

North-South game: dealer South


] J 4

_ J

+ A K 5 4 3

[ K J 10 9 2

West East

] Q 7 ] 10 8 2

_ A 4 _ 8 7 6 3 2

+ Q J 10 9 8 7 + 6

[ 6 5 3 [ Q 8 7 4


] A K 9 6 5 3

_ K Q 10 9 5

+ 2

[ A