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Tom O'Hanlon of Ireland was one of the few declarers to make Four Spades on this deal from the qualifying rounds of the Team Olympiad in Rhodes, taking full advantage of a natural enough but favourable opening lead.

After two passes, North opened 1#, East overcalled with 1!, South showed his spades, and both West and North supported their partners' suits. East jumped to 4!, Hanlon contested with 44 and East doubled to end the auction. West led !J (a trump would have been more effective) and East overtook to switch to 2K. Declarer ducked, won the club continuation and, after coming to hand with a top trump, ruffed a heart in dummy.

It was easy enough to come back with another top trump and ruff the last losing heart on the table, but now there was the problem of coming back to hand to draw the last trump.

More than one declarer lazily attempted to cash dummy's two top diamonds now, but East was able to ruff and cash a club to defeat the contract. Hanlon had a much better idea: he cashed just one of dummy's top diamonds and exited with a club. Can you see the point? If East exited with a heart or a club, South could ruff and draw the last trump; and, if East was able to get off play with a second diamond, there would be no danger of an adverse ruff. The plan would not have worked if West had started with 2J and five diamonds, but in that case, no play succeeds.

Love all; dealer South


410 9 5 3


#A K 9 7 4

2A 5 4

West East

44 4J 7 6

!J 10 5 4 !A K Q 9 3

#Q J 10 6 5 #3

28 3 2 2K Q J 7


4A K Q 8 2

!8 6 2

#8 2

210 9 6