"Who held the two of clubs?" North asked excitedly, after his partner had gone down in Four hearts on this deal. It seemed a quaint question, but it turned out to be very much to the point. When West admitted possession of this highly significant card, North was able to demonstrate how the contract could have been made.

South opened One Heart, West doubled and North (stretching a little on the strength of two aces) redoubled, instead of bidding One Spade as most players do nowadays. East bid Two Diamonds, South jumped to Three Hearts, and North went on to game. West led the #Q against Four Hearts and declarer won.

It seemed clear that West must hold 2A so, rather than use up an entry to dummy, South led a low club from hand - hoping that perhaps 2A would come down in three, or he might be allowed to ruff two clubs in dummy. East won and returned a trump. When the defenders won the next club lead, they were able to lead a second trump and now, with only one trump left on the table to look after two losing clubs, declarer was a trick short. He ended by losing three clubs and a spade.

So, how could 22 have possibly featured? South had indeed missed a neat opportunity. Suppose he crosses to 4A at trick two before broaching clubs. He covers East's six with his eight and this loses to the nine. The marked trump return is won in dummy and another club led, South covering East's seven with his ten. Finally, declarer can lead 2K from hand, pinning East's queen, and establishing 23 as a winner by force.

Game all; dealer North


4A 10 4 2

!A 8 4

#9 8 7 4

25 4

West East

4K J 9 3 4Q 7 6

!5 2 !9 3

#Q J 10 #K 6 5 3 2

2A J 9 2 2Q 7 6


48 5

!K Q J 10 7 6


2K 10 8 3