South made a curious mistake on this deal - a mistake, I feel, that would be made by nine declarers out of ten.

East opened One Spade and South overcalled with Four Hearts. Expecting this to be purely pre-emptive and not based on a powerful hand, West doubled and led his singleton spade. Dummy covered with the jack and East played well by withholding his queen. South could not play a second spade immediately for fear of ruffs, so he drew three rounds of trumps and exited with a fourth heart.

West made the right switch to a club, and after this there was no escaping a spade loser against the best defence. The ten of spades was covered by the queen, and South later attempted a throw-in, but East was careful to keep the ten of diamonds as an exit card, and the game failed.

South would have had no problem if he had played dummy's 48 on the first lead. This is covered by the nine, but when in dummy later, after three rounds of trumps, declarer can run the 4J. Whether or not this is covered, South's losers are restricted to two diamonds and a trump.

Love all; dealer East


4J 10 8


#8 6 5 2

2A Q 8 6 3

West East

43 4Q 9 6 5 4

!J 10 8 6 !5 4

#Q J 9 3 #A K 10

2J 10 5 2 2K 9 7


4A K 7 2

!A K Q 9 7 3

#7 4