Bridge

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South congratulated East on his smart defence against Four Spades on this deal. Dummy agreed with that, but refrained from sympathising with his partner. See if you can spot why.

South opened 14 and West overcalled with 2!. Not a shy bidder, North showed his diamonds at the Three level and South jumped to 44 against which West led !K. Declarer won, overtook his #Q on the table, and discarded his losing heart on the other top diamond.

There was little point in taking the trump finesse at this stage, for if the defenders did not want South to trump a losing club in dummy, they would have to lead trumps themselves. So South led a club from the table. This was East's chance to shine. He went in with his unprotected king and, when it held, switched to a trump. The finesse lost, West played another trump, and now there was no way for South to avoid losing two more clubs to go one off.

South's play would have worked if West had held both top club honours, even with the trump king wrong, but he missed a distinct improvement. After discarding his losing heart at trick three, he does better to ruff a diamond high and then lead clubs from hand. Now, if East wins and switches to a trump, declarer finesses. The difference is that dummy's remaining diamonds are established and, indeed, if West leads a second trump, both of South's remaining losing clubs go away on the diamonds. And, if the diamonds had not broken 3-3, there would still have been the trump finesse in reserve.

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