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The Independent Online
As there is no point in attempting to establish a trick when you are on lead against a grand slam, it is usually a sensible idea to lead a trump - it should be safe and may be positively beneficial if declarer is planning a cross-ruff. There is, however, a possible drawback, as today's hand illustrates.

Jill Casey and Kay Preddy, playing for the British women in the recent Generali European Championships in Portugal, appeared to have had a lucky escape with the North-South cards on this deal. Firstly, they ended in a contract of Six No-trumps - a destination distinctly inferior to Six Spades as it requires both the club finesse and a winning guess in spades whereas either of these would have been sufficient for the suit slam.

Secondly, they were fortunate in the play. There is a slight edge to playing West for the missing queen of spades because 4Q 9 x x can be picked up in her hand, while if East has this holding there is an inescapable loser. Adopting the anti-percentage play successfully, the British pair anticipated receiving the benefits of a big swing.

There was indeed a big swing, but not a very satisfactory one from the point of view of the British players. The Icelandic women, despite the knowledge that they were missing the queen of trumps, lurched into Seven Spades, against which West - and who can possibly blame her? - led a dutiful trump.