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South's plethora of goodies went to his head on this deal. The bidding was fine, the final contract excellent and played by the right hand, but he missed a neat opportunity of ensuring his final contract and failed, albeit unluckily, when all the missing cards proved to be sitting unkindly.

South opened Two Clubs and rebid Two No-trumps over his partner's negative of Two Diamonds. North bid Three Diamonds (a transfer to hearts) and over South's dutiful Three Heart bid jumped intelligently to Five Hearts. It was not crystal clear to South what this slam invitation required him to have, but whatever it was he seemed to have it, and he went on to the slam.

West, correctly judging that his partner had very little, sensibly led a trump. Declarer won with the !A, crossed to dummy with the !K and led 44 to his queen. Very much on the alert, West allowed this to hold. Dummy was re-entered with a trump and the 4J finessed, but now West won, and had a safe exit with 410, killing dummy's nine. There was no squeeze and, when West discarded accurately, the slam failed.

What did South miss? When his 4Q held, he should cross to dummy with a trump and simply run the nine of spades! West wins with his 10, but whatever he leads now - a spade, a diamond or a club - gives declarer his 12th trick.