After North-South had bid well to reach the best final contract, declarer spoilt everything by a curious oversight in the play.

South opened One Heart, North responded Two Clubs, and South next bid Two Diamonds. Rather than support diamonds, North explored with Two Spades (the fourth suit) and, although Three Clubs was an alternative, South decided to stress the quality of his heart suit. Possibly expecting a six-card suit, North raised to Four Hearts and all passed. (As you can see, no other game would have offered any play.)

West led #8 against Four Hearts and this went to the two, seven and king. Declarer started on trumps and East won the first round and deceptively returned the jack of diamonds. South covered with the ace and West ruffed. Now a spade switch removed dummy's ace and when the clubs refused to break, South was left with two more losers.

"I couldn't be sure about the diamonds," said South. "The lead might have been from #Q,9,8. Well, that was unlikely (remember, South had bid the suit) but if South had ducked the jack of diamonds he would have made a perfect safety play. As the cards lie, East can play another diamond, but South's ace remains untouched to win the 10th trick. As it was, he lost, in effect, three diamond tricks.

Game all; dealer South


4A J

!9 2

#10 5 3 2

2A K 9 5 2

West East

4K 10 7 6 3 4Q 8 5 2

!6 5 3 !A 7 4

#8 #Q J 9 7

2J 10 6 4 28 3


49 4

!K Q J 10 8

#A K 6 4

2Q 7