"It was a complete guess," claimed South after taking the wrong view in the play of Four Spades on this deal. This was not quite true - there was a subtle inference that he had missed completely.

West, as dealer, started off with a bid of Four Hearts to give North a problem. Strictly speaking, a double by him would be for take-out, but he had so many high cards that a pass would have been unthinkable. So he chose this course of action and apprehensively heard his partner bid Four Spades. Fortunately, South had adequate length in the suit.

West led 26 against Four Spades and declarer could identify this as a singleton. He won with dummy's ace, cashed 4A, and ruffed a heart in hand in order to lead 48. East won with his king, cashed 2Q and 2K (on which West threw two hearts) and led a fourth round of clubs.

South found himself in difficulties. If he discarded, West might be in a position to ruff with the last trump. Instead, South ruffed high, drew the last trump (noting with irritation that it was East who held it) and eventually took a losing diamond finesse to go one off.

West had started with one club and could reasonably be placed with at least seven hearts for his opening bid. If, as South feared, he held three spades, he would have only two diamonds and would certainly have thrown them on his partner's 2Q and 2K. As he had not done so, he must have started with three diamonds and hence only two trumps. So a discard of the losing diamond on the fourth round of clubs would have been safe.