Game all; dealer North

North

4 A Q J

! A Q 8

# A 9 3

2 9 8 7 6

West East

4 5 3 4 4 2

! 7 2 ! K J 10 9 6 4

# 8 6 4 2 # K Q 10 7

2 K Q J 4 3 2 2

South

4 K 10 9 8 7 6

! 5 3

# J 5

2 A 10 5

This deal came up recently in rubber bridge and in practice the defence was less than accurate, allowing declarer to execute a neat squeeze and make his contract. But who made the first mistake?

North opened One No-trump (15-17 points). East overcalled with Two Hearts, and South bid Three Spades.

With a good fit in his partner's suit, the opponent's suit well-guarded, and top cards, North might profitably have bid Three No-trumps where there were nine sure tricks. But he dutifully raised to Four Spades.

The lead of the seven of hearts left South with a problem: how could he avoid four losers? He started by covering the lead with dummy's eight. East won and pushed through the two of clubs - which looked very much like a singleton.

Without much hope, South won, drew trumps with the ace and queen, and exited with a club.

West took his two club tricks (which was perfectly good) and led a third top club (which was quite fatal! - He should have led another heart). Can you see how South took advantage of this error?

He ruffed, cashed the ace of diamonds (a Vienna coup) and played off his remaining trumps to squeeze East in the red suits.

I shall revisit this hand next week, but I will leave you with a problem: How could South have made his contract after the punishing heart lead?

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