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West defended well on this deal to defeat South's contract of 3NT, but he should not have been given the chance to shine.

After East had passed, South opened 1NT (16-18 points) and West made his first good move by passing. (Two spades doubled? The outcome does not bear thinking about.) North raised to game, West led 47 against Three No-trumps and dummy's jack held the trick.

It was clear to South that East had to be kept out of the lead, so he cashed !A and ran the jack to West's queen. As anything else would have been even more costly, West played off the ace and another spade, clearing the suit.

At this point, South had eight tricks in sight. He took his two heart tricks (noting, with irritation, that West had been allowed to score with his doubleton queen) and West defended well when he parted with two clubs, baring his king. Declarer played off the ace and king of diamonds and, when the slight chance of the queen falling did not materialise, fell back on the club finesse. Now West had the rest of the tricks and the contract was two down.

Certainly South was right to keep East off lead, but he must play on clubs, not hearts, at trick two. If West wins and clears the spades, South can safely take the heart finesse into East's hand, while, if West exits passively, declarer can develop the tricks he needs in hearts without letting East in.

Of course, a shrewd West may allow CQ to hold the second trick. If South is nervous of continuing clubs, he can now turn to hearts with numerous chances.

Game all; dealer East


4J 10 3

!A J 4

#K 8 2

2J 9 7 3

West East

4A Q 9 7 4 46 5

!Q 3 !8 7 6 5

#Q 9 4 #10 7 6 3

2K 5 2 210 6 4


4K 8 2

!K 10 9 2

#A J 5

2A Q 8