I was curiously pleased by this simple-looking deal - not because (in common with the rest of the field) we failed to defeat South's contract of Three No-trumps, but by winning 30 pesetas (approximately 8p) in side bets with the other three players when I maintained that we could have come to five tricks.

In practice, South opened One No-trump and North raised to game. I led 46 against Three No-trumps and this went to the five, king and ace. Declarer set to work on the diamonds, and it is easy to see that in no way could he lose more than four tricks (to 4Q, !A and #A,K).

What, then, was the miracle defence that I envisaged? Club or heart leads, although they are good tries, do not quite work. No, I stuck to my original lead of 46. The bizarre secret was for East to withhold his king and follow with the two. Now, how does the play proceed?

Presumably South wins with his ten and attacks diamonds. West goes in with his ace on the first round of the suit and leads another spade to the nine, king and ace. Now, when East gets in with his #K, he can lead 43 through South's 4J,6 for West to collect two tricks in the suit with his 4Q,8.

Would this have been a practical defence to find? Hardly, for East would have looked remarkably foolish at trick one if I had led from, say, 4Q,10,8,6,4 and the high cards in the other suits had been slightly rearranged.

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