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'THEY defended too well and there was an unkind distribution,' South complained after failing to make Four Spades on this deal. He had completely overlooked a neat alternative play that could hardly have failed.

South opened One Spade and North raised to Two Spades.

He had stretched slightly because of the pre- emptive value of his bid and was a little concerned when South jumped to game.

West led the queen of diamonds against Four Spades, and it looked a simple matter to South - he would play on hearts at every opportunity and, even if the suit did not divide evenly, might well be able to ruff the last one in dummy.

Accordingly he led a heart at trick 2, but East won and returned a trump.

South conceded another heart and East led a second trump. A third heart revealed the 4-2 break and a third round of trumps from East left declarer with two losers but only one trump in dummy to take care of them. As a result, he ended with only nine tricks.

Try the effect of cashing the ace of clubs at trick 2 before leading a heart. As before, the defenders win and lead a trump. Declarer wins on the table and ruffs a club high in hand. Then he crosses to dummy with the queen of spades and ruffs another club.

Finally, he cashes his second top diamond, trumps a diamond on the table, and ruffs another club. In this way he scores seven trump tricks to go with his three outside winners.


S. Q J 9 7

H. 8 7 5

D. 6 4

C. 10 8 7 2


S. A K 10 8 6

H. 6 4 3 2

D. A K 7

C. A


S. 5

H. J 9

D. Q J 10 9 5 2

C. K 9 6 3


S. 4 3 2

H. A K Q 10

D. 8 3

C. Q J 5 4