This deal featured two possible "avoidance plays", both of which were missed. I blame myself entirely for the first.

It was to be the last rubber of the evening and things were going well when we reached game all and my partner opened One Heart. West overcalled with One Spade, I raised to Two Hearts, and South went on to game.

West led the 210 against Four Hearts and this went to the jack, queen and ace. Declarer drew trumps in three rounds, then led a second club. It proved that East now had two tricks in the suit and when, after taking the first, he pushed a spade through, the defenders came to four tricks to defeat the contract.

Can you see the avoidance play that declarer missed? When 210 was led at trick one, he should play low from both hands, leaving West on lead. Now, unable to lead either spades or diamonds profitably, West is reduced to playing a trump. Then, after clearing the trumps, South can play the ace and another club and his losing spade goes away on dummy's long club.

And the other overlooked avoidance play? Simply that I should have cut out and gone home before the rubber started. For on the very next hand our opponents bid and made a grand slam.

Game all; dealer South


4Q 4

!K 7 3

#Q 8 3

2J 9 7 5 4

West East

4K 10 8 7 5 2 49 6 3

!8 2 !10 5 4

#A J 9 4 #10 7 6 2

210 2K Q 8


4A J

!A Q J 9 6

#K 5

2A 6 3 2