"Winner-on-loser plays are my speciality," observed the club wit. "And I'm often told that I can find ways of not making what appears to be a sure trick in a suit, but this is the first time I've been accused of missing such a chance."

North opened 12, East overcalled with 1!, and South bid 14. Unwilling to regard his heart holding as a sufficient stopper for no-trump purposes, North rebid his clubs, and South became declarer in 3NT.

West led !Q, dummy played low, East encouraged with the seven, and South took his king.. There was an obvious danger if West gained the lead and, although it seemed likely (from his overcall) that East held 2K, there were sufficient tricks in sight to try the safety play of laying down 2A at trick two and following with another club.

There would be no problem if East gained the lead in clubs (for dummy's extra heart holding would provide a second guard) and this gave the slight extra chance of finding West with the singleton 2K. It is easy to see the sequel: West won the second club and led his remaining heart for his partner to take the next four tricks and beat the contract.

Can you see the solution? South must make the unusual play of ducking the first trick completely. true, this may well mean that he never comes to any tricks at all in hearts but, whether West continues hearts or not, it will now be completely safe to take the club finesse. Either West has no hearts left, or declarer's side still has a guard in hearts.

North-South game; dealer North


4A 8

!10 8 3 2

#A K

2Q 10 8 6 3

West East

46 5 3 4Q J 10 4

!Q 5 !A J 9 7 6

#9 6 5 4 2 #10 8 7

2K 5 2 29


4K 9 7 2

!K 4

#Q J 3

2A J 7 4