Games: Bridge

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With high hopes of making a game contract in which he had at least four losers in top tricks, South squandered the chance that he had been given by the favourable opening lead.

After two passes, South opened One Heart and North responded Three Clubs. This "force after passing" guaranteed support for hearts and was equivalent to a raise to at least Three Hearts showing where his values lay at the same time. South signed off firmly with Three Hearts but North did not heed the Gypsy's warning and went on to game.

West led 4Q against Four Hearts, and the play to the first four tricks was easy. After winning with 4A, declarer played off three rounds of clubs to discard one of his losing diamonds. Then he started on trumps, praying for a 2-2 break. The hearts broke evenly all right, but when East won the first round with his queen, he cashed #A. Then, with a clear picture of what was happening, he led 210 for the defenders to make their top trump honours separately.

Nobody could criticise his start, but what should declarer have played at trick five? Having read what actually happened, you will spot South's mistake. He should have led dummy's last club and discarded his remaining losing diamond. Then there would have been no way left to the defenders to make more than two trump tricks.