In his hurry to discard a sure loser, South lost control of this hand and ended two tricks short. To be fair, the winning play was by no means easy.

South opened One Spade and North dredged up a response of One No-trump. South forced to game with Three Clubs and, in an attempt to keep the bidding low, South gave preference to spades. When South went on to Four Spades, at least the final contract offered some play (unlike Five Clubs).

West started with the ace of clubs and, as he still had two natural club tricks, switched to #3. Declarer won East's king with his ace, cashed the ace of hearts, crossed to dummy with the king of spades and discarded #J on the king of hearts. Then he drew trumps, but the 4-2 break proved too much for him. West won the next club lead and was able to play a forcing game in hearts to leave South with only eight tricks.

Any suggestions? Suppose declarer simply accepts the loss of a diamond and, after winning with his ace, draws trumps in four rounds and cashes the ace of hearts. Then he exits with the jack of diamonds.

If West, who is marked with the queen, wins and plays a red suit, South will have three discards on dummy's winners. And if West ducks the jack of diamonds, declarer can simply give up two more tricks in clubs, for dummy's king of hearts is still there to protect him from a force.

Game all; dealer South


4K 5

!K 8 5

#10 9 5 4

29 8 5 3

West East

44 3 49 8 7 2

!J 9 7 4 !Q 10 6 3 2

#Q 7 6 3 #K 8 2

2A K J 22


4A Q J 10 6


#A J

2Q 10 7 6 4