North-South game; dealer North


4J 9 8 2


#A Q 8 7 2

2A Q J

West East

4none 4A Q 10 7 4

!10 8 7 6 5 !9

#J 9 6 5 #K 10 4 3

2K 9 8 7 24 3 2


4K 6 5 3

!A K Q J 3 2


210 6 5

I suppose that, as in any competitive game, you can make enemies in curious ways. This deal, from match-play, caused North and East to be "no-speaks" for a long time.

The bidding followed the same route at both tables: North opened One Diamond, East overcalled with One Spade, and South ended in Four Hearts. Unable to lead his partner's suit, West chose 27.

Now the play diverged. One declarer successfully finessed the 2Q and, after playing four rounds of trumps, soon had 10 tricks. (Five hearts, three clubs, a diamond and a spade.) The other declarer went up with dummy's ace at trick one and eventually lost four tricks. (A club, two spades and a trump.)

"What was the point in refusing the club finesse?" demanded North. "Even if it loses and East gives his partner a spade ruff, it is only one of your losers that is trumped."

"First," replied South, "I am always home if the trumps are no worse than 4-2. Second, if the club finesse loses, East will indeed give his partner a spade ruff. But he will return 4Q, not the ace and another or a low one. Then he still has two spade tricks to come later."

"Do you really think that East would have been capable of such a play?" persisted North.

Unfortunately, East had just come back into the room after comparing scores, and overheard the last part of North's remark.