Love all; dealer North


4 A K 6 4

! A 8

pounds K 5 3 2

2 10 9 4

West East

4 10 9 7 4 Q J 8 3 2

! Q J 9 7 2 ! 10 5

pounds 10 6 pounds J 9 8 7

2 K 8 2 2 Q 5


4 5

! K 6 4 3

pounds A Q 4

2 A J 7 6 3

There have been celebrated instances of chess masters resigning in positions where subsequent analysis showed that they had a forced win. I feel much the same about the following slam hand which I described elsewhere as being well played by declarer. Oh dear! It appears that I, as East, could have defeated the contract no matter what South had tried.

Ken Barbour (South) and Alan Truscott bid well to reach Six Clubs. Albert Dormer, as West, led the queen of hearts and declarer won on the table. At trick two, he led the ten of clubs which went to the five, three and two.

This was a good try by Albert. If only I had not held the queen of clubs, declarer might have been tempted to repeat the club finesse which would have allowed West to play a third round and leave South a trick short. In practice, a second round of trumps saw my queen pop up and, after winning, declarer was able to abandon the suit and claim twelve tricks.

A French reader, Raymond Vallet, has helpfully pointed out that I should have covered the ten of clubs with my queen. It looks wrong, but can you see the effect?

Declarer, after winning, cannot play a second round of trumps without the defenders playing a third. So he has to ruff a heart on the table first. If he ruffs with the four, I can overruff with the five. If he ruffs with the nine of clubs, Albert now has two natural trump tricks. Quite infuriating!