There was a brisk exchange of mistakes on this deal, but West was the first to recover and, as a result, South's slam failed.

South opened Two Diamonds and North responded Two Spades. Next South tried Three Clubs - not necessarily his best move - and North raised to Four Clubs. Roman Key Card Blackwood revealed that either 2K or 4A was missing, and South settled for Six Diamonds against which West led !K to the seven, two and ace.

Declarer drew trumps, throwing two spades from dummy, then turned his attention to clubs by cashing the ace (collecting the two, three and seven), then led a low one. When West followed with the jack, South took a good view by ducking in dummy. East could not overtake without sacrificing his second club trick, so that left West on lead. It looked natural to lead another heart, but look what would have happened: Declarer ruffs and cashes his remaining trumps. West must keep !J in front of dummy and East must retain 2K. Neither can hold on to three spades and the slam rolls in.

Instead of the heart, though, West brightly switched to a low spade, breaking up any possible squeeze. After some thought, declarer finessed the jack and so went two off.

As the cards lie, South would have done better to lead a low club from hand before cashing the ace - the chance of finding East with the singleton king was minimal. As it went, however, West could have made the defence much easier if he had simply unblocked with his 2J under South's ace.

Game all; dealer South


4A K J 10 4

!10 9 7


2Q 8 4 3

West East

49 8 6 3 4Q 7 5

!K Q J 5 !8 6 4 3 2

#9 8 2 #5 4

2J 2 2K 10 7




#A K Q J 10 7 3

2A 9 6 5