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ALTHOUGH he would have done better to defend against the Three Heart contract that his opponents had reached in a competitive auction, South (as the Americans say) 'took the push' and went on to Three Spades - clearly one too high. However, declarer recovered neatly.

West started with his three top clubs against Three Spades before switching to the jack of hearts. At first glance it seemed to declarer that his only chance lay in finding West with precisely the ace and one other spade - which would not have suceeded as the cards lay.

Thinking quickly, South baited a neat trap. He started by making the apparently pointless play of covering the jack of hearts with dummy's queen. East contributed the king (who could blame him?) and declarer won. Before tackling trumps he cashed the ace of diamonds, then led a low spade from hand.

Put yourself in West's position: does it not look as though South's holdings in the red suits are reversed and that, on gaining the lead in dummy with the queen of spades, he proposes to discard his losing heart with the queen of diamonds?

You can guess the sequel. To prevent declarer from throwing his supposed loser away, West went in with his ace of spades, thereby killing his side's second natural trump trick.

To his irritation it proved that South had no loser to discard.


S Q 7

H Q 6 4 2

D K Q J 4

C 8 7 4


S A 9 4

H J 10 9

D 9 8 6 5



S J 10

H K 8 7 5 3

D 10 7 3

C 6 5 2


S K 8 6 5 3 2


D A 2

C J 10 9 3