"That was an extraordinary finesse!" complained East at the end of this deal. "I must learn to hold my cards up," he added, with what passes for humour at my local club.

Can you spot why the trump finesse in 4! was not at all bizarre? This is the full story: South opened 2! and North raised to 3!. South cue-bid 34, North co-operated with 42 and, with commendable restraint, South put on the brakes with 4! and North passed.

It was just as well that they had stopped in game, for the opening lead was 2K, attacking dummy's side entry before a diamond trick could be established. Declarer held off in the hope that West would switch, but East's 22 suggested a three-card holding and West sensibly continued with 2Q.

Inspiration! After winning the second club, South led !2 from dummy and finessed the nine! (You can see why East felt aggrieved when his partner showed out.) The point, of course, was that, in danger of losing a trick in all four suits, declarer was taking a tiny precaution.

If West held all three missing trumps there was nothing to be done, but If East held them the finesse was necessary. And if the trumps were 2- 1 all the time and West was able to win with, say, a singleton queen? No matter, for now a diamond trick could be established for a spade discard and provide the vital entry.