"I thought that I was on to a good thing there!" was West's sad remark after failing to defeat Four Spades doubled on this deal. His partner did not comment. He was gloomily calculating the score.

South opened Two No-trumps and North responded Three Hearts - a transfer to spades. South dutifully bid Three Spades and his partner went back to No-trumps. After some thought, South returned to Four Spades and this proved too much for West who, after doubling, led 2K to South's ace.

The contract would normally have been easy but prospects dimmed when a spade to the jack confirmed the expected bad trump break. How could South avoid losing three spades and a diamond?

There was no point in continuing trumps, and South planned to ruff clubs in dummy in the hope that West might find his trump length embarrassing. He crossed to !J and ruffed a club, then continued with a heart to the queen and another club ruff. Next he cashed #AK and !A to leave West with nothing but trumps.

The last club from hand followed and West could do no better than ruff with the eight. Dummy over-ruffed with the queen and now declarer got off lead with a losing diamond. West was forced to ruff his partner's winner and concede one of the last two tricks to declarer's 4K. It all added up to an unlikely overtrick and by now East had worked out that that was minus 990 points.