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THIS week's deal was a neat example of an elimination play of a sort that is often illustrated in textbooks. The trouble was that nobody rang a bell to warn declarer that it was one of those hands and, playing mechanically, he went down.

South opened One Spade and North, playing a modern idea, responded Two No-trumps. This showed a raise to game in spades with a reasonably balanced hand. South's next bid of Three Spades, according to the method, displayed int-erest in progress beyond game but denied any outside shortage. Losing enthusiasm, North settled for Four Spades.

West led the two of hearts and decla-rer finessed dummy's queen unsuccessfully. A heart came back and, after drawing trumps, South faced the problem of avoiding three diamond losers. As West was unlikely to hold ace and king, declarer tried a low diamond from dummy. At this point, it did not matter what he had tried and he duly lost three tricks in the suit.

How should declarer have approa-ched the hand? Whether the heart fin- esse is right or wrong, he can guarantee his contract by winning the first trick with the ace. Then, after drawing trumps, he discards a heart from dummy on a club and exits with a heart. Whoever wins has the choice of opening up the diamond suit to South's advantage or conceding a ruff and discard.

Love all; dealer South


] J 10 7 3

_ A Q 5

+ Q 7 6 3

[ A 5

West East

] 6 5 ] 4 2

_ 10 8 4 2 _ K J 7 6

+ A 4 2 + K 10 9

[ J 8 4 2 [ 10 9 6 3


] A K Q 9 8

_ 9 3

+ J 8 5

[ K Q 7