To say there were a number of possible ways of tacking Six Spades on this deal would be something of an understatement. And, needless to say, declarer chose the only one that failed. Did he miss an important psychological point that might have helped?

South opened One Spade and North started quietly with Two Diamonds. When South rebid his spades, however, North became excited and the final contract was Six Spades against which West led 2J.

Declarer won in hand and found that he was able to draw trumps in two rounds, ending in hand. Good news! At trick four, South ran #Q, losing to East's king. A heart was returned to the queen, king and ace. Next, South cashed dummy's winning clubs, discarding a heart from hand. He followed with #A and #10. When East played low, South brooded for a while but finally decided that his best chance was the ruffing finesse and he discarded his last heart. Oh dear! Now West took #J for the setting trick.

Now, when West failed to cover #Q with the king, it was surely quite likely that he did not hold both the king and the jack. Was there not a good case for winning with dummy's ace, discarding #9 on dummy's top club, and leading #7, discarding a heart? West wins, but now South can take a ruffing finesse against East's presumed #K in order to discard his remaining losing heart.