"A good game is one that makes; a bad game is one that fails," slightly misquoting Bob Hamman (he was originally talking about slams). On those grounds, I suppose that you would judge 44 to be a bad contract. But would you have made it a good one?

South opened 14, North bid 2#, and followed with jump preference in spades when South bid hearts. South went on to game and West led 2A against 44. A look at dummy suggested nothing more attractive and he plodded on with clubs, declarer ruffing the third round.

There was an abundance of spare tricks. Surely the only conceivable danger (assuming that trumps behaved well) was that there might be an adverse ruff. So without much thought, South cashed 4A and led a second trump. You can see the outcome: West won with 4K and led a fourth round of clubs. Now East scored the setting trick with his jack of trumps.

It was suspicious when East followed with 22 at trick one. Surely he held three cards in the suit. Instead of releasing the 4A immediately, declarer does better to lead low towards the queen (after all, he needs to find West with 4K). West duly takes his king but now when a fourth round of clubs comes, South still has 4A and can over-ruff a possible 4J or 410 from East.

And, if after doing so, West plays low on the next trump lead, South can consider finessing dummy's eight. No need, for the ten pops up, so it must have been a good game after all.

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