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WHEN declarer holds the ace and the queen in the suit that has been led against his no-trump contract, it is an old trick to win with the ace (rather than the queen) after East has contributed the jack. In that way West, on lead later, will place his partner with the queen and again lead away from his king, instead of finding a damaging switch. This week's deal provided a neat variant.

Game all; dealer South


Q 7 4

Q 9 5

10 8 3 2

K 7 6


9 8 3

A 7 2

A Q 6 5

Q 10 2


10 6 5

K J 10 6 3

9 7

5 4 3


A K J 2

8 4

K J 4

A J 9 8

South opened One No-trump and went on to game after North's optimistic raise. West led the five of diamonds against Three No-trumps, East covered dummy's eight with his nine, and (as the heart position looked highly dangerous) declarer won deceptively with his king.

A club to the king was followed by a finesse of the jack and West won with his queen. Convinced that his partner held the jack of diamonds, he persevered with the six of diamonds. Now South won with the jack and had nine tricks after successfully dropping the ten of clubs.

East felt that his partner's defence was a little nave, and suggested that, when in with the queen of clubs, he should have tried the ace of hearts. This certainly works as the cards lie - East signals enthusiastically with his jack - but it is easy to rearrange the cards in such a way that the ace of hearts would prove fatal.