On this deal from match-play, the contract was the same at both tables, but one declarer was given a rougher ride than the other.

At the table I watched, South opened One Diamond and North responded Two Clubs. East overcalled with Two Spades and South bid Four Spades - agreeing clubs and showing a spade shortage. West's sporting raise to Five Spades now left little room for further exploration and the final contract was Six Diamonds. West led 43 and, when dummy's jack brought the ace from East, the obliging breaks in the minor suits allowed declarer to make an early claim.

At the other table, as we learnt later, the bidding had followed a less exacting route, but the end result was again Six Diamonds. This time, however, West had attacked with his singleton club. Yes, it looked like six diamonds, five clubs and a heart, but the club suit was blocked and there would be no trump entry to the table. Of course, declarer could have ducked the club and so brought in the suit, but that would have left him a trick short.

South found a neat solution. he won the lead, drew trumps and, after crossing to dummy with another club, led 4J from the table. East played low and declarer discarded a blocking club! It was a neat (and necessary) loser-on-loser play for which he was rewarded with the loss of one i.m.p.