When one of your opponents has opened with a pre-emptive bid, there is a strong temptation to play his partner for most of the outstanding high cards. With this idea in mind, South went down in Four Spades on this deal when a little more thought should have put him on the right track.

East opened Three Hearts, South overcalled with three Spades, and North raised to game. West led the 2A against Four Spades and continued with the king and another club. Declarer ruffed with dummy's nine but East over-ruffed with his jack and returned a heart to South's ace. Still with the fixed idea that West was the more likely candidate for holding #Q, South drew trumps, cashed one high diamond and, after coming to hand with a heart ruff, finessed #J unsuccessfully.

South should have stopped to think. After he had drawn trumps, he knew that East had started with one spade, two clubs and presumably seven hearts for his pre-emptive bid. That left him with three diamonds and, if they included the queen, neither finessing nor playing for the drop would help.

However, East was almost sure to hold the king of hearts, so South should have played off two more rounds of trumps to leave dummy with !Q,7 #A,K while he kept 45 #10,7,3. This would have left East in trouble for a discard from !K,J #Q,8,2. Whether he throws a heart or a diamond, declarer is in a position to establish an extra trick in that suit for his contract.

North-South game; dealer East


49 6 3

!Q 7 4

#A K J 5 4

29 3

West East

48 4 2 4J

!8 3 !K J 10 9 6 5 2

#9 6 #Q 8 2

2A K 10 8 6 5 27 4


4A K Q 10 7 5


#10 7 3

2Q J 2