Five Clubs would have been a straightforward affair on this deal from a recent pairs event but, eager for match points, our opponents tried Three No-trumps. It did not improve our score when they ended with three overtricks, but which of us was to blame?

South opened Two Clubs (conventional, strong, but not game-forcing) and North made the negative response of Two Diamonds. South showed his clubs for the first time and, when North tried Three Spades, bid Three No-trumps to end the auction. West led #7 (the second highest from a bad suit) and my nine lost to the ace.

Declarer started on clubs and, after ducking the first round, West won and continued diamonds. Now, with the aid of the kindly heart distribution, South had 12 tricks.

I suppose that both defenders might have done better. As East, although not 100 per cent sure at this early stage that a spade switch was desirable, I might have played #Q at trick one in an attempt to divert partner away from what proved to be a futile continuation.

Still, I do not think that I was totally responsible for the debacle. Presumably partner placed me with #K,Q,J,10,9 but, in that case, would I not have doubled North's conventional reply of Two Diamonds in order to suggest a lead?

The final thought: if West does the right thing and finds the spade switch, the queen is the right card to lead, for declarer might (and indeed did!) hold the singleton jack of spades.

Game all; dealer South


4K 8 6 5 4

!Q 10 4 3

#6 5

28 3

West East

4Q 10 3 4A 9 7 2

!J 9 2 !8 7 6

#8 7 4 3 2 #Q J 10 9

2A 4 29 5



!A K 5

#A K

2K Q J 10 7 6 2