There were a number of points of interest on this deal, in both the bidding and the play. In the eventual rather delicate contract, South had to play carefully.

Playing five-card majors, South opened 1! and North responded 2NT. This was forcing to game, agreeing hearts as trumps, and (believe it or not) invited South the show a shortage. With nothing to be ashamed of with his opening bid, South duly obliged with 34. At this point, with his spade values clearly not fitting, South surely could have put up the shutters, but no, he pushed on with 42. South could no longer be restrained and the final contract was 6! against which West led 2K.

The lead had clearly improved matters and, assuming that West held 2Q, it seemed that only a 2-2 trump break was necessary. There was no harm, however, in putting East to an early test and, after winning the lead on the table, declarer led 47. Well, would he not have played that way if he had started with a singleton 4J? East got it right and played low, so, after ruffing, declarer tried his main chance with the ace and king of trumps.

This brought no joy, for West still held the queen, but South was not dead yet. There was still a chance that the 4J would fall in three. The 4K from dummy was covered by the ace and ruffed, dummy re-entered with #Q and, when 4J fell under the queen, declarer had taken two club discards before West could ruff. And after he had ruffed, there was still a trump left in dummy to take care of the losing diamond if it proved necessary.

Game all; dealer South


4K Q 10 7

!K 10 9

#Q 7 3

2A J 6

West East

4J 8 5 4A 9 6 4 3 2

!Q 5 3 !2

#J 2 #10 9 8 5

2K Q 10 9 2 27 3



!A J 8 7 6 4

#A K 6 4

28 5 4