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The Independent Online
A COMMON result on this deal from the qualifying round of a pairs event was for South to play in Four Hearts and make 12 tricks. Playing five card majors, the bidding was likely to have been 1!-14; 2!-4!; all pass, and, after a diamond lead, declarer won and laid down ace and king of trumps.

If the queen was still outstanding, the plan was to discard as many clubs as possible on the diamonds before a defender could ruff and still have the spade finesse in reserve. As it happens, the queen falls, the trumps can be drawn without loss, two clubs go away, and the spade finesse works. This looked a better bet than a trump finesse that would lead to the loss of a heart, three clubs and a diamond ruff.

A colleague looked unhappy as this hand was discussed. He had ended with only nine tricks. He was a good technician, so was he unlucky enough to get a club lead? "No," he replied, "nor did I finesse in trumps." West had led the seven of diamonds and, after winning in hand, he had followed the main line as described. But when he led the ace of hearts, West dropped the queen! Sure that East still held!9 4 3, he followed with a trump to the jack.

To his surprise, both opponents followed; when he tried to come back to hand with a diamond in order to draw the last trump, East ruffed and was quick to switch to a low club for the defenders to come to three more tricks. "I wouldn't have minded so much if Garozzo had been sitting West," he said. "But this punter couldn't even qualify for the final."

Love all; dealer South


4A Q 7 3

!J 7

#A J 10 8

2Q 10 4

West East

4K 9 4J 10 6 5 4

!Q 9 !4 3 2

#9 7 5 4 3 2 #6

2K 3 2 2A J 7 5


48 2

!A K 10 8 6 5

#K Q

29 8 6