The bidding was the same at both tables on this deal from match play but one South decided to follow a simple line while his counterpart, judging the situation more accurately, engineered a neat end play.

East opened Four Hearts, and South, who had been looking forward to a scientific auction, was reduced to overcalling in diamonds. All passed and West led !2 against Five Diamonds. East won and returned the suit, but South ruffed high.

Placing West with 4A (for otherwise East would surely have been too strong to pre-empt), one declarer simply drew trumps and led a spade to the king. As expected, this held, but West proved to have the jack as well, and when the finesse of 410 failed, so did the contract.

At the other table, after the same start, declarer was more far-sighted. As East held considerable length in hearts, it seemed likely that West held ample spade length. In that case, he was more likely than his partner to hold the critical 4J as well as the ace.

Basing his play on that assumption, declarer took the slight risk of cashing his two top clubs before touching trumps (after all, with a singleton club, East might have considered switching at trick two.) All followed and, after crossing to #8, declarer ruffed a club high. #9 provided another entry for a club ruff and, after drawing the last trump, South led 4Q from hand.

This fixed West, who had only spades left. If he ducked, 4K would provide another trick in the suit; if he won, he would have to lead away from 4J and South would score with his 10.

Game all; dealer East


4K 7 5

!8 6 4 3

#9 8

28 6 3 2

West East

4A J 9 4 3 48 6

!2 !A K Q J 10 7 5

#7 6 5 #2

2J 9 7 4 2Q 10 5


4Q 10 2


#A K Q J 10 4 3

2A K