"Could I have made that?" asked South after going down in his spade game on this deal. With an unnecessary degree of Schadenfreude, both East and West were eager to oblige with a solution.

West opened One Diamond, North doubled, and South's jump to Four Spades ended the auction. West led 2A, collecting the three, two and five, and switched to !J. After winning in dummy, declarer drew trumps in two rounds and followed with a club towards dummy's queen. West took his king and exited with a third club on which South happily discarded #Q.

After all, it seemed certain that the diamond finesse was wrong and now, South reasoned, all he needed was a 3-2 break in hearts. He was in for a disappointment, however, and the actual division in the suit meant that he had to lose two more tricks.

The East-West solution was quite neat: instead of discarding #Q on dummy's club winner, South should part with a heart. Then he cashes dummy's second top heart, exposing the position, and follows with the ace and queen of diamonds. On lead, West has to concede a ruff and discard and declarer's last losing heart goes away.

Game all; dealer West


4A J 7 3

!A K 5 4

#8 4

2Q 7 3

West East

46 4 48 5

!J !Q 10 9 3

#K J 10 6 5 #9 7 3 2

2A K 10 9 4 2J 6 2


4K Q 10 9 2

!8 7 6 2

#A Q

28 5