To go two down in an easy game is always undignified, and finding that his counterpart at the other table had bid and made a slam completed South's humiliation on this deal.

At the table I watched, South opened One Club, North responded One Heart, and East contented himself with a weak jump overcall of Two Spades. South bid Two No-trumps, North raised to game, and all passed. West led the six of spades against Three No-trumps. Declarer ducked East's jack but won the spade continuation.

Unwilling to stake everything on the club finesse, South decided to test the hearts first - perhaps East held the doubleton queen, when the finesse would be unnecessary. So he played off the king of hearts and led another heart on which East dropped the queen! A confident finesse of the nine of hearts followed, but now East took the next five tricks.

At the other table, East intervened with Three Spades, not Two. Under pressure, South bid Three No-trumps and North, perhaps overlooking this factor, jumped to Six No-trumps.

This time, declarer won the first spade, finessed successfully in clubs, and cashed all of his minor suit winners. If East came down to 4K, !Q,10,7, he could be thrown in with a spade. Instead, East did his best by reducing to 4K,3 !Q,10. This was also no good, for South read the situation and played off the top two hearts.

North-South game; dealer South


45 2

!K J 9 8

#Q 6

2A Q 10 8 4

West East

46 4 4K Q J 8 7 3

!6 3 2 !Q 10 7

#10 8 7 5 3 #9 4 2

2K 5 2 26


4A 10 9

!A 5 4

#A K J

2J 9 7 3