In a critical round of the recent Macallan International Pairs tournament, there was a well-fought match between the only two women's pairs competing - Nicola Smith and Pat Davies (Britain) against Sabine Auken and Daniella von Arnim (Germany) - who made the fine performances of finishing in second and third places respectively.

It was only a part-score deal, but most North-South pairs registered a plus score, either from a contract of 1NT or 2!. The Germans chose to play in 2! after Pat Davies had overcalled 14 with the West hand. She led 4A and switched to a low club at trick two. Von Arnim cleared her first hurdle when she guessed right and played dummy's jack. East won with her ace and returned a club to drive out dummy's only sure entry.

Next, declarer ruffed a club in hand and led a second round of spades. West took her king and had an awkward play to make. Her actual choice of #7 looked as though it might be helping declarer significantly in her play of the suit but when dummy played low Nicola Smith false-carded intelligently with #10 instead of #9. This had a dual effect: it would have dissuaded her partner from leading the suit again should she get in, and it might well mislead declarer. So it proved, for von Arnim now decided that the diamonds were breaking 3-3. She played off her top hearts and followed with the ace and another diamond. Now East won, drew dummy's last trump, and had another diamond to cash and defeat the contract.

Love all; dealer East


4Q J 10 5

!10 8 2

#Q 8 3

2K J 7

West East

4A K 9 7 2 48 4

!Q 9 !J 7 4

#7 4 #K 10 9 5

2Q 9 5 3 2A 10 6 4


46 3

!A K 6 5 3

#A J 6 2

28 2