The two North-South pairs valued their combined assets rather differently on this deal from match play. Caution paid off, but it should not have done.

South opened One Diamond, and one North, judging that his hand was not worth a Two-over-One response, bid One Spade. This did not excite South; his rebid of Two Diamonds was passed out and he ended with 10 tricks.

At the other table, North, rather more practically, responded Two Clubs to the opening bid. This distinctly improved the South hand and, despite his shortage of points, he reversed with Two Hearts. The partnership were now in a game-forcing situation and finally ended in Five Diamonds, against which West led the king of spades.

It was a messy hand to play and South made a reasonable try when he crossed to 2A and took an immediate trump finesse. He would have ended with 12 tricks if the finesse had won and both minor suits divided 3-2. As it was, West won with #Q, gave his partner a club ruff, won the heart return, and played back a trump. Ingloriously, South ended by going five down!

Any thoughts? Try #J from hand at trick two, keeping control. Now there are 11 tricks, whenever the trumps are 3-2 and the clubs no worse than 4-1.

East-West game; dealer South


4J 9 7 6


#6 2

2A K J 8 4 2

West East

4K Q 10 4 4A 8 5 3 2

!A J !K 9 8 7 6

#Q 9 5 #8 4

210 7 6 3 29



!Q 10 5 4 2

#A K J 10 7 3

2Q 5