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South thought that he was making a safety play on this deal. Certainly he was catering for one possible adverse distribution, but he failed to see that he might well run into difficulties against more normal distributions.

South opened 1! and North started with a quiet 2#. South rebid his hearts (there was a good case for suggesting no-trumps) and now his partner became excited and the final contract was 6!. A club lead would have reduced declarer's chances considerably, but West had a natural start with 4Q and this gave South some breathing space.

With plenty of winners, declarer judged that he could afford a safety play in trumps and at trick two he laid down !A, catering for the possibility of either opponent holding the singleton king. The 10 fell from West, but East unkindly let the !J win the next trick. He won the next trump lead with his king and exited with his singleton diamond. Now, locked on the table, declarer had either to lose a club trick or suffer a diamond ruff. Yes, he could have survived if he had been able to judge exactly how many diamonds East held before he led a third trump, but there was no real way of knowing.

Rather than attempt to cater for a slightly unlikely trump distribution, declarer would have done better to follow a simple line. A low trump to the jack at trick two would have been quite sufficient against any 3-2 break, and even as the cards lay would have left him in complete control.

Game all; dealer South



!J 8 4

#A K Q J 10

2A J 8 4

West East

4Q J 10 9 2 46 5 4 3

!10 !K 7 6 5

#9 7 6 4 #3

29 5 2 2K 10 6 3


4A K 8

!A Q 9 3 2

#8 5 2

2Q 7