410 9 8 5 4 3
#8 7 6
2A K 6 3
47 2 4none
!J 10 3 !A K 9 8 6 4 2
#A Q 10 3 #J 9 4
2J 9 8 2 210 7 5
4A K Q J 6
!Q 7 5
#K 5 2
This deal proved a valuable addition to my stock of hard luck stories. South planned the play intelligently, but he was misled by an even more intelligent defence.
East opened Three Hearts, South overcalled with Three Spades and North raised directly to the slam. West led !J against Six Spades and declarer ruffed his three losing hearts on the table, coming to hand each time with a trump.
Prospects did not look good: East, marked with !A,K, could hardly hold #A as well after his pre-emptive opening. However, South saw that he could bring pressure to bear on West if he held four or more clubs as well as #A. South played off his last three trumps. If West had come down to four clubs and #A alone, declarer planned to lead a low diamond from hand to establish his king.
Thinking ahead, West saw the danger. He had already parted with #3 on the third trump and his next two discards were carefully chosen. He threw 22 and followed with #Q. Convinced that West had started with five clubs and that #A was now bare, South led #2.
To his chagrin, he lost two diamond tricks and found that he could have taken four club tricks for his contract.