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The Independent Online
NORTH-SOUTH bid efficiently enough to Six Spades, but declarer was disappointed that dummy didn't have the nine or ten of clubs when an end- play would have guaranteed the contract.

It looked as though the slam depended on the club finesse, but declarer saw that there was the possibility of an end-play in diamonds if East held three diamonds that included any two of the queen, jack and ten - or, indeed, all three.

West led the queen of hearts which South took with dummy's king. Then he immediately played a small diamond towards his hand and was happy to see East follow with the five. Now he drew trumps and cashed his other top diamond and heart. Next he entered dummy with a further trump and played another diamond. When East followed with the jack, he discarded a small club. Should East have held the last diamond, he could have got off play with it and declarer would have had to fall back on the club finesse. But East was now end-played and had either to play into dummy's A Q of clubs or give declarer a ruff and discard. Nor does it help if West overtakes with the diamond queen, as this establishes dummy's nine.

So why did declarer play a diamond at the earliest opportunity? He hoped that, so early in the hand, East would not realise the significance of his jack and ten. If he had left the play of the suit till later, East might have divined his intentions and unblocked them under the ace and king to avoid the end-play.

Love all; dealer South


4K 10 4 2

!K 8

#9 8 4 3

2A Q 6

West East

45 48 3

!Q J 10 7 !9 6 4 3 2

#Q 7 6 2 #J 10 5

2J 9 5 3 2K 10 7


4A Q J 9 7 6

!A 5

#A K

28 4 2