When South saw dummy on this deal, the precise sequence of play did not seem important. However, a slight error in timing led to defeat against an accurate defence.

East opened 1#, South overcalled with 1!, and North raised directly to game. East dithered (5# would have cost 500 after a trump lead) but passed and West led #3 against Four Hearts. South ruffed the third round of diamonds and led a heart to the ace to discover the 4-0 break. This bad division meant that South needed two entries to hand to draw trumps without loss but, as long as East held 4A, there seemed no problem. He came to hand with 2K and took the marked trump finesse.

Too late South saw a snag. If he cashed !K and led a spade, East would go in with his ace and lead a fourth round of diamonds to promote West's !J. Instead of cashing !A, South tried a spade from the table first. But now East had another counter: he ducked! Now, no matter what South tried, West had to come to a trick with his jack of trumps sooner or later: if declarer plays another spade, he can never draw West's !J and, if he cashes !K first, East still has a spade entry with which to push through a fourth diamond.

South succeeds if he leads a spade to the king before touching clubs. With !K,10 still in dummy, it no longer matters whether East takes 4A or ducks; in either case South still has 2K as a quick entry to hand.

East-West game; dealer East


410 8 4 3

!A K 10

#10 5 2

2A Q 3

West East

4Q 9 6 5 4A J 7

!J 4 3 2 !none

#J 4 3 #A K Q 9 8

29 2 2J 10 7 6 5


4K 2

!Q 9 8 7 6 5

#7 6

2K 8 4