Bridge

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Four Spades would have been a sensible contract on this deal but both North and South did a little too much bidding and the final contract was Six Spades. Declarer reached a position from which he could have got home but, after thoughtful defence by West, he was persuaded to take a wrong view.

North opened a conventional Two Clubs and rebid Three No-trumps over his partner's negative response of Two Diamonds. Rather wildly, South tried Five Spades and, although it was not clear what this asked for, North seemed to have it, so he went on to the small slam.

West made the natural but unfortunate lead of 2Q and declarer won in hand. Prospects were not good but they improved when he decided to try the heart finesse at trick two. When !J held, South cashed dummy's top hearts and discarded two diamonds from hand. Next he ruffed a heart with 47 and continued with #A and a diamond ruff. Two top trumps followed but the queen did not fall and South ruffed another dummy in hand.

Thinking quickly, West discarded smoothly. If he had over-ruffed, he would have had nothing but clubs to lead and would have been forced to concede a trick to South's 210.

As the cards lie, South wins now if he throws West in with his master trump. However, as West had apparently been unable to over-ruff, he decided to play East for the missing 4Q. He crossed to dummy with 2A and led the last diamond, hoping to make his twelfth trick en passant with his last trump. Unlucky! West was able to over-ruff and so took the last two tricks.

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