bridge

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Game all; dealer West

North

4J 4

!Q 5 3

#A K 8 5

28 7 6 2

West East

47 5 3 4A Q 10 9 8 2

!A 4 !6 2

#Q J 6 4 3 2 #8

2Q 5 2A 9 4 3

South

4K 6

!K J 10 9 8 7

#10 7

2K J 10

"Amazing, isn't it? How a moment's inattention can cost so many tricks," mused West after a distinctly unsuccessful defence on this deal. "Amazing," agreed his long-suffering partner.

After two passes, East opened 14 and South bid 2!. West raised to 24, North competed with 3!, and East bid 34. With little excuse South pushed on to 4!and all passed.

Deciding there was not much future in a spade lead, West attacked with the #Q. Dummy's king won and declarer unblocked with the 10. He tried a low spade from the table and, after taking the ace, East switched to a low club - the best defence.

If South had finessed the jack, the roof would have fallen in and he would have failed by three tricks. In a moment of inspiration, he went up with the king to win a trick. Next, giving his best impression of a player looking for a missing jack of trumps, he led the !10 from hand.

You can see what happens if West takes this trick. He cashes 2Q, gives his partner a diamond ruff, and finally East takes his 2A. Rather naively, however, West played low on the trump lead. When his 10 held, South was quick to play a second round. This left West on lead and the blocked position in clubs meant that the defenders could take only one trick in the suit.

Finally, as a result of his foresight at trick one, declarer was able to finesse the #8 and so dispose of his last club. Perhaps West would have done better to suffer a small loss in 44.

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