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There was a mixed bag of results on this deal from a pairs event. Some Souths decided that there was a 50 per cent chance of their singleton !K proving a stopper and opened Two No-trumps, They were raised to game by North after a Stayman enquiry and their off-beat activities were justified when no West led !A. They took 11 tricks after any other heart lead, and 10 only after a passive spade lead. Needless to say, they all scored well.

In the altogether sounder contract of Five Clubs, most declarers went down, seeing the hand in a simple light and relying purely and simply on a 3-2 diamond break and so losing two diamonds and a heart.

I thought that my partner played the hand very elegantly after a trump lead. He won, cashed his two top spades, crossed to dummy with a trump, and ruffed a spade high. When the 4Q did not fall, he drew the last trump with 2Q and trumped the 4J. Then he cashed #A (the key play) and exited with a heart.

At this point, no matter who wins, any return other than a diamond gives a ruff and discard. If it had been East who won the heart and followed with a diamond honour, declarer would duck and be sure of three diamond tricks. No other play by the defenders in diamonds, no matter how they break, would have presented any problem.

There was only one tiny hitch: we had advanced to Six Clubs, so taking 11 tricks was not a triumph. Still, we tied with the pairs going one down in Five Clubs.

Game all; dealer South


4J 6 5 4


#A 10 6 2

2Q 10 9 6

West East

410 9 8 4Q 7 3 2

!A Q 10 9 6 2 !8 7 5 4 3

#7 #Q J 9 8

28 3 2 2none


4A K


#K 5 4 3

2A K J 7 5 4