"Well, I made a good job of that!" South remarked after going down in his slam on this deal. "Not only did I help steer us to the wrong contract, but I mangled the play as well." As a spectator, I was forced to agree.

South opened One Spade and rebid Two Diamonds over the response of Two Clubs. North explored with Two Hearts, the fourth suit, and, unable to limit his hand accurately, South temporised with an artificial raise to Three Hearts to suggest extra values. With neither player knowing quite what was happening, they ended in Six Spades.

Looking at all four hands, one can see that Six No-trumps would have been impregnable, and Seven No-trumps unlucky to fail. However, in Six Spades, South got the lead of #K. It still looked easy but, after he had won and led a trump to the king, the next spade lead revealed a sure trump loser. Undeterred, South took his ace and, leaving a trump in dummy to guard the diamonds, cashed the ace and king of clubs. Then he crossed to a top heart and discarded a diamond on 2Q.

West ruffed and accurately forced dummy with a second top diamond. After ruffing on the table, South had no way back to hand to draw the last trump and West scored the setting trick with 4J.

There was a simple solution. When East shows out on the second round of trumps, declarer should play low from hand. West makes his trump trick but now South can come to hand with a club to draw the last trump and enjoy all his winners.


4K 6 2

!A K Q 4


2Q J 10 9 7

West East

4J 9 8 4 43

!9 5 !J 10 7 6 2

#K Q J 9 3 #7 6 2

24 3 28 6 5 2


4A Q 10 7 5

!8 3

#A 10 8 4

2A K