"Well, I thought that our bidding was good," remarked South philosophically after going down in his slam on this deal. He and his partner had bid, unopposed: 1! - 22; 24 - 4#; 4! - 52; 64 - pass. (As Three Diamonds by North on the second round would have been "fourth-suit forcing", the jump was a splinter, showing shortage and agreeing spades.)

West had led #Q against Six Spades and, after winning in hand, declarer had attempted to establish dummy's clubs. His plan broke down when he had to ruff the third round of clubs with a trump honour, after which the 4-1 trump break proved too much of a hurdle and he ended a trick short.

It is just possible that South might have staged a recovery after this bad start, but can you see what would undoubtedly have been a better plan of campaign?

Declarer does better to ruff the diamond lead on the table, come to hand with !K, and ruff his other losing diamond low in dummy. Then he returns with !A and ruffs a heart with 4K, following with his three top trumps.

He is now home and dry if the trumps are 3-2 and the hearts no worse than 4-2 (giving up a heart if necessary) or, as the cards lie, if the hearts are 3-3 when he can now cope with a bad trump break.

Game all; dealer South


4K 6 4 3

!6 5


2A J 10 9 7 3 2

West East

410 8 7 5 49

!Q J 9 !10 7 3

#Q J 10 9 #K 8 6 4 3 2

2Q 8 2K 6 5


4A Q J 2

!A K 8 4 2

#A 7 5