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Game all; dealer West


410 7

!A K Q

#A 7 2

29 7 6 5 3

West East

49 8 4J 6 5 4

!J 9 5 !10 4 3

#K Q 3 #J 10 6

2A K Q J 4 210 8 2


4A K Q 3 2

!8 7 6 2

#9 8 5 4


I am sometimes asked if all the hands in my columns have actually occurred at the table. Most of the time they have but sometimes I exercise journalistic licence - perhaps to make an opening lead less questionable.

This week's deal very nearly happened and the adjustment of a few spot cards made it into a neat problem.

West opened One Club and, after two passes, South bid One Spade. West doubled, North redoubled, and West retreated to Two Clubs. North doubled but South did not fancy his hand in defence (although he might have collected 500 points) and the final contract was Four Spades.

Suppose that you have sight of all four hands, can you see how South can come to ten tricks after the lead of the ace of clubs?

The solution is rather elegant. Declarer ruffs and, using dummy's three top hearts as entries, trumps three more clubs in hand. Then he crosses to the ace of diamonds and ruffs the fifth club with his last trump.

This leaves dummy with: 410 7 #7 2

and declarer with:

!8 #9 8 5

while East still has his original four trumps.

South now leads the 13th heart. If West discards, a ruff with dummy's seven of spades brings in the tenth trick either now or later; while if West decides to ruff, dummy does not over-ruff but discards, eventually making the trump trick he needs.