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The Independent Online
This deal was originally set as a problem, but it is not just a question of spotting an answer - I want you to find the two solutions.

Perhaps the bidding went: one spade - four spades, and west leads the jack of diamonds. Dummy plays low and the king appears. Over to you!

The obvious approach is to win and play trumps, but now west takes his ace and continues with the ten of diamonds. East ruffs the queen if it is played, and there are still two diamond tricks to be lost. The "official" solution was to let the king of diamonds hold. Can you see the difference? When west gets in with the ace of spades, he can give his partner a diamond ruff, but it is only a losing diamond - south still has the ace and queen of diamonds intact to make later.

And the alternative? Well, south can still recover even if he wins the first trick with his ace. He eliminates both hearts and clubs first before leading a trump. West wins, and the queen of diamonds is ruffed away by east. However, this leaves east on lead with no safe exit and either a heart or a club from him gives declarer a ruff and discard and his tenth trick.

East-West game; dealer South


4J 9 8 5 2

!K 9

#Q 6 4 3

2A 4

West East

4A 47 4

!Q 8 7 4 !J 6 5 3 2

#J 10 9 8 #K

2Q 10 9 2 2J 8 7 6 5


4K Q 10 6 3

!A 10

#A 7 5 2

2K 3