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"What an infuriating hand!" explaimed East at the end of this deal. "We had 27 points between us; we couldn't make a game and we couldn't defeat Four Spades." He was wrong on two counts: a distinctly anti-percentage play in clubs would have allowed him to make Three No-trumps and, more practically, his side should certainly have defeated Four Spades.

East opened 1! and South pre-empted with 44. Stuck for a bid but with some values, West decided to double and all passed. West led !2 and declarer ruffed East's ace. At trick two, he continued with #2 to dummy's jack and East won with his ace. With no good card to play, he exited with a second heart. South ruffed with his 49, crossed to D8 and ran 48 successfully. There were no further problems in the play and so ten tricks rolled in (seven spades and three diamonds).

Well, you have the advantage of seeing all four hands. How could the defenders have managed to defeat the contract? The key play is for East to allow #J to win at trick two. To prevent a diamond ruff (for Werst has a club entry), South must now draw trumps. This goes successfully but, when the next diamond is played, East wins and must return either 2J or 2K, followed by 2J (a low club will not suffice) for the defenders to collect three club tricks.

East-West game; dealer East


48 5

!10 9 8 6 4

#K J 10 8

210 8

West East

46 2 4K 4

!K 3 2 !A Q J 7 5

#Q 6 5 2 #A 3

2A 9 4 3 2K J 5 2


4A Q J 10 9 7 3


#9 7 4

2Q 7 6