ENDING IN a delicate contract on this deal, South did very well to scramble home. There was a defence as the play went but East (playing a bit mechanically?) did not spot it in time.

After two passes West (playing a 12-14 no-trump) opened One Heart. North doubled, East raised to Two Hearts and, after two passes, North doubled again - which was a distinctly aggressive move. Without enthusiasm South bid Three Diamonds and all passed.

With an awkward lead, West chose the ace and another heart and, after winning with the king, declarer continued with a spade to the king and ace. West got off lead with a spade to the queen and South ruffed a spade in hand. Then came a heart ruff on the table, the two top clubs, and a fourth round of spades.

At this point East was left with #Q 8 4 3 210 and it seemed natural enough to discard his last club. This did not work well when declarer ruffed and continued with a club. Now East was forced to trump his partner's winner and, reduced to leading trumps, tried a low diamond to West's king and dummy's ace. Finally, a club from dummy allowed South to score his #J en passant and that was his ninth trick.

East would have done better to ruff the fourth spade low and preserve his club. South over-ruffs but now West can win the next trick with his 2Q and lead a low trump (not the king) from his #K5 to leave declarer a trick short. It all left West regretting that he had not chosen the king of trumps for his opening lead!

Love all; dealer East


4Q 7 6 3

!K 4

#A 10 6

2A K 9 8

West East

4A 8 4 2 4J 10 9

!A J 10 2 !Q 9 5

#K 5 #Q 8 4 3

2Q J 7 210 5 3


4K 5

!8 7 6 3

#J 9 7 2

26 4 2