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The Independent Online
Declarer fell for an old trap on this deal. It was one of those hands where there was a direct route to success, irrespective of whether West was having a little game or not.

In the modern style (of bidding without the qualifications) East opened Two Spades - weak, but showing a six-card suit. South overcalled with Three Hearts and, after a pass by West, was raised to game by North.

West led 42 against Four Hearts and declarer ruffed the spade continuation. A trump lead saw the queen appear from the West hand and, perhaps rather naively, South finessed !7 on the second round of trumps, playing East to hold !10, 6, 5, 3.

There was a possible recovery after this bad start, for West could have been end-played in the minor suits, but in practice declarer took a diamond finesse and so ended one down.

It would have been a far sounder continuation to play the ace of trumps on the second round. As it happens, West's little trick is exposed and there are ten top winners, but what happens if West shows out?

In that case, South can then use dummy's two entries to ruff spades in hand and then, after cashing his remaining winners in the side suits, he quietly gets off lead. In the fullness of time he will make the necessary extra two tricks with his ! J 9.