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'I DON'T understand it]' commented East after this deal from a pairs event. 'Everybody else has gone down in Three No-trumps, and you were the only declarer to make it]' It was true that declarer had taken one good view in the play but, rather more significantly, East had made a serious mistake in the defence.

South opened One No-trump (16-18 points) and North raised to game. West led the seven of spades against Three No-trumps and this went to the two, jack and ace.

It was clear that the diamonds had to be brought in and the two was covered by the three, king and ace. A spade came back and West cleared the suit to put South in with the ten. The jack of diamonds revealed the bad break, but the queen and another diamond established a winner on the table. In with the ten of diamonds, East switched to the jack of clubs.

Guessing well, declarer went up with the ace of clubs and crossed to the king of hearts in order to cash the long diamond. Then a finesse of the jack of hearts gave him his ninth trick.

It is true that South might have finessed in clubs rather than hearts, but just suppose East had let the king of diamonds hold when the suit was first played? This effectively denies South an entry to dummy and, unless he takes an unlikely finesse of the nine, he will be restricted to two tricks in diamonds and the contract must fail.