Bridge

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Well pleased with the result of his safety play in his spade slam on this deal, South lost his concentration and missed a not too difficult way of improving his chances. It happens to us all ...

South opened 14 and rebid 2! over his partner's response of 2#.

North gave jump preference with a limit bid of 34 and Blackwood led to the small slam. West led CJ against Six Spades and declarer won in hand. He followed with the standard play of 4A, guarding against a singleton honour in West's hand and obviating any guesswork.

When 4J fell, it was clear that there was only one trump trick to be lost and the only problem lay in coping with South's losing heart. As a second round of trumps might allow East to play a third, South attempted to cash two top hearts. Unlucky! East ruffed the second and still had 4K to come.

Can you see what South missed?

It would hardly have cost him to have cashed #A at trick three and follow by ruffing a diamond in hand. When the missing diamonds prove to be no worse than 4-2, declarer can afford to lead 4Q from hand. Now, if East holds off, it is perfectly safe to cash the two top hearts for all that East can come to is a trick with his king of trumps. So, suppose that East takes his king and leads a third trump. Declarer can win with dummy's eight, ruff another diamond in hand, and still has !K and 2A on the table as entries to establish and enjoy a long diamond for a discard of the losing heart.

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