The barrage put up by East-West pushed South into a dubious slam on this deal.

Perhaps they knew what they were doing, for declarer took his eyes off the ball at an early stage.

South opened with a strong conventional 22 and West joined in with 24. North doubled, in the modern style showing some values, and East bounced pre-emptively to 54. Personally I would have taken the money with a double (300 points) but South allowed himself to be pushed into a bid of 6! which ended the auction.

West led 4A then 4K against the slam and declarer ruffed with !4. It looked very much as though everything would depend upon the club finesse, but his next play of !A revealed a new problem - the bad trump break. He continued with !9, planning to run it and follow by drawing trumps ending in dummy. Then he would be able to tackle clubs, starting carefully by running the nine, and being in a position to claim if the king were well-placed for him, no matter how the suit divided.

It did not work out as planned. On the lead of !9, West unsportingly covered with his jack. Now the rest of the trumps could not be drawn before the clubs were tackled and West scored a ruff to defeat the contract.

Apart from his bidding, South's troubles stemmed from his play to the first trick. If he had ruffed with !9 instead of !4, he would still have been able to cope with any possible 4-0 trump break and, as the cards lay, could have completed the drawing of trumps ending in dummy. Then, with the clubs lying kindly, it would have been all over.

Game all; dealer South


4Q J

!Q 8 7 2

#J 7 2

2J 9 5 3

West East

4A K 5 4 3 410 9 8 7 6

!J 6 5 3 !none

#8 6 4 #10 9 5 3

27 2K 8 6 4



!A K 10 9 4

#A K Q

2A Q 10 2