"I've seen this sort of thing before!" was South's comment on inspecting dummy. Possibly, but it did not help him on this occasion.

West opened One Diamond, North passed, and east scratched out a raise to Two Diamonds. South joined in with Two Spades and went on to game after a raise from his partner. West led !A against Four Spades and, on seeing his partner's two, switched to #K.

South's line of play was not unintelligent: he allowed the king of diamonds to win! He won the diamond continuation with the ace, discarding a club from hand, drew trumps, then played on clubs. He now had two chances: the clubs might break 3-3 to give him a heart discard and, if they did not behave, there was still the chance that East had started with !J, when a finesse of !10 would give South his 10th trick.

No joy, and the contract failed. There was, however, a fair alternative. West had bid diamonds and appeared to hold four hearts. He might easily hold only two clubs. If declarer wins the second rick with the ace of diamonds, ruffs a diamond in hand, draws trumps and plays off the ace and king of clubs, he can try the finesse of !10. If this loses to the jack and West has no more clubs, he will have to concede a ruff and discard.

Game all; dealer West


4J 10 8 4

!8 6 4

#A 6

2K 8 7 6

West East

49 2 46

!A K J 7 !9 5 2

#K Q 10 9 3 #J 7 5 4 2

2J 10 2Q 9 4 3


4A K Q 7 5 3

!Q 10 3


2A 5 2