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A little imagination is a good thing at this game but too much can prove costly, as one East discovered on this deal from match play. What he imagined to be a good idea cost his side no fewer than four tricks.

As dealer, East decided to open Two Hearts (weak), a bid that would not have been everyone's choice. South passed and West raised pre-emptively to Three Hearts. North doubled and East raised the barrage by pushing on to Four Hearts, but everyone passed South's call of Four Spades.

West led !2 against the spade game and, after winning with his king, one East returned !10! His idea, of course, was that after winning with his supposed queen, West could return a diamond for his partner to ruff. In motoring circles, this sort of manoeuvre is known as "Flash Harry at the wheel". It was South, however, who turned up with !Q and now a repeated trump finesse gave him 11 tricks.

At the other table, against the same contract but after a different auction, East stolidly cashed a top heart and switched to a club. Declarer won in hand and ran 4J to East's queen.

The next club lead had to be won on the table and South attempted to come back to hand with a diamond in order to repeat the trump finesse. You can see the result: East trumped, gave his partner a club ruff, and was able to score yet another defensive trick with a second diamond ruff. So declarer ended by losing two hearts and no fewer than four trump tricks!

North-South game; dealer East


4A 9 8 6

!7 4

#A Q 7 4

2A Q 3

West East

4K 5 4Q 3 2

!J 8 5 2 !A K 10 9 6

#9 8 5 3 2 #none

2J 10 28 7 6 5 4


4J 10 7 4

!Q 3

#K J 10 6

2K 9 2