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Game all; dealer South


4A K Q 7

!K 9 2

#10 9 7 3

27 3

West East

4J 9 5 46 3 2

!J 5 3 !A 10 8 6

#8 4 2 #6 5

2J 10 9 6 28 5 4 2


410 8 4

!Q 7 4

#A K Q J

2A K Q

If you (as South) and your partner had bid accurately to Six Diamonds on this deal from match play, you might expect a small loss if your opponents had tried Six No-trumps instead. The diamond slam needed either 3-2 diamonds or, if they were 4-1, an even spade break. In Six No-trumps, however, a 3-3 spade break seemed essential and, as the cards lay, how could declarer have any problem?

At the other table, North-South had indeed bid the slam in No-trumps, but West was able to introduce a tiny diversion into the play - and South fell for it hook, line and sinker. So what happened after West made the natural lead of 2J?

After winning, South started by cashing two of dummy's top spades and, lo and behold, the jack fell from West on the second round. Clearly, thought South, the spades were 4-2 and East still held S9,6. So he came to hand with 410 and was suitably infuriated when both opponents followed. The !K failed to provide the now much-needed entry to dummy when east refused to win !Q, and declarer ended with only 11 tricks.

Yes, it was a cunning move by West to drop 4J on the second round, but if South proposed to lead a third round of the suit, he should have come to hand first before leading 410. Then when West follows sheepishly with his 9, the 10 can safely be overtaken.