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WEST MANAGED to find the best attacking lead on this deal. South had a possible counter but overlooked it in the heat of the moment.

West opened One Heart, North doubled, and East raised pre-emptively to Four Hearts. Undeterred, South bid Four Spades, and all passed. Five Hearts would have proved cheap, but both East and West judged that they might have sufficient defence against the Spade game.

West led #K against Four Spades, and now, with three certain losers, declarer was faced in addition with the possibility of an adverse diamond ruff. Hoping for the best, he won and led a trump. However, there was no joy for declarer, as West took his ace immediately, cashed #Q and put his partner in with a heart to collect a diamond ruff for the setting trick.

In many situations declarer will find it impossible to avoid the damaging ruff, but he really should not have overlooked the possibility of the cards lying as they do - with the diamonds blocked. His winning play is a heart at trick two before touching trumps - thereby cutting his opponents' communications.

However, as South pointed out, this fails, and his line would have succeeded if West had held 4Ax and #KQxx. They are still arguing about it, but the heart play (if it succeeds) is more elegant.