At the half-way stage on this deal, West found himself in a tiresome position. With the choice of three suits to lead, it soon became clear that, in different ways, all of his options were losing ones.

South opened One Heart and west overcalled with Two Diamonds. North doubled negatively and raised his partner's next bid of Two Spades to game. West led 2A against Four Spades and continued with the king and jack. South ruffed and was allowed to win the next trick with a top trump. West won the next trump lead with his ace and found himself in trouble.

A diamond lead would clearly not have been a good idea and, eventually, he led a fourth round of clubs. This seemed to be playing into declarer's hands for, after ruffing with his last trump, he crossed to dummy with a top diamond and drew the last outstanding trump - effectively completing a dummy reversal.

East was not pleased with his partner's activities. "Why didn't you play a third round of trumps when you were in with the ace?" he demanded. "Then, quite simply, declarer is a trick short."

Superficially, it looked as though East was right but, as West pointed out, if he did so then 28 would remain as a menace on the table. After playing off dummy"s remaining trump, declarer would simply cash his three top hearts. Then West would have to discard from #Q,10,9 29 before dummy had to part with a card from #A,K,6 28.

East-West game; dealer South


4J 6 5 2

!Q 6

#A K 6

28 7 6 3

West East

4A 9 8 47 3

!none !J 10 9 8 3 2

#Q 10 9 7 4 2 #8 3

2A K J 9 210 5 2


4K Q 10 4

!A K 7 5 4

#J 5

2Q 4