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IN WHAT could only be described as a hazardous contract, South had to time his play perfectly in order to take advantage of the favourable distribution. True, another opening lead would have defeated him, but West could hardly be blamed for his actual choice.

East opened One Diamond, South overcalled with One Spade and (after a pass by West) North raised pre-emptively to Three Spades. East doubled for take-out and, with little excuse, South pushed on to Four Spades to end the auction.

West led the two of diamonds and, in case declarer held the singleton king, East had to win with his ace. He switched to the jack of clubs and South finessed the queen successfully. There were still only eight tricks in sight, for East was marked with the ace of hearts and the clubs had to be established in such a way that when East won the third round he had no safe exit card.

In order to eliminate the diamonds, declarer cashed his king, crossed to the table with the king of trumps (noting the fall of East's jack) and ruffed dummy's last diamond. Now came the ace and another club, both to establish dummy's long club and leave East on play with the choice of leading a heart or conceding a ruff and discard.

If South had played a second round of trumps East could have set him an interesting problem by discarding his king of clubs.

Now declarer would have to read the position exactly and draw no more trumps (or else East throws his ten of clubs as well), then exit with a low club instead of cashing the ace. Then East is end-played as before, for West never gains the lead for the punishing heart switch.