N-S game; dealer West


4K 5

!7 5 3

#A 10 9 7 6

210 5 2

West East

4Q 4 3 4J 10 9 7

!Q 10 9 8 2 !6 4

#K 3 #Q 8 5 4

2K 9 3 2Q 6 4


4A 8 6 2

!A K J

#J 2

2A J 8 7

Three No-trumps was bid and made at both tables in a recent match, but one declarer wore a guilty look. Investigation confirmed that he had misplayed the hand but had been give a chance to recover.

South opened 1NT (16-18 points) and went on to game after North's raise to Two. West led the !10 and it was clear that South was off to a good start when his jack won.

Playing on diamonds was natural and at trick two the jack went to the king and ace. Declarer continued with the ten from the table, which East allowed to hold. A low diamond followed, in the hope of a 3-3 break, and South threw the 28. West also had a discard to find and, though either a spade or a heart would have left declarer a trick short, his actual choice of a low club proved fatal.

South won the heart return and led the 27 from hand. West still might have escaped had he played low without apparent interest, but he went in with his king and now it was all over. Declarer used dummy's spade entry to finesse the 2J for his ninth trick.

It was a good recovery, but South had missed a far sounder method. He should have let West's #K hold the second trick. If West switches to a spade (best), declarer wins in hand and finesses the #10. This loses, but now three diamond tricks are assured and the contract is safe.