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This deal could be regarded as either amusing or sad, depending on your allegiance. I suppose that West must take the blame but most players would have defended in the same way.

After a pass by West, North opened 1NT and South jumped to game in hearts to end matters. A fair case could have been made for a raise to 3NT instead: if North has nothing in hearts, it is unlikely that another suit will be wide open. In practice, East would not have led a diamond.

West began with three top diamonds and on the third, East signalled enthusiastically with the 4J, but West's switch to the 47 proved curiously fatal. In view of West's original pass, it was clear that the spade finesse was wrong, so declarer went up with dummy's ace and ran his six trumps. You can see the three-card ending - dummy with 2A K 9, declarer with 46 3 22, and East struggling to find a discard from 4K 2Q J 10.

Despite his partner's signal, West should have switched to a club at trick four. Declarer surely has at least six heart tricks and, if the spade finesse is necessary, he will have to take it sooner or later. The club lead breaks up any possible squeeze.

Two final thoughts: West can afford to switch to a spade, as long as he picks the 2 rather than the 7! Then, discarding after dummy, East can part with all his spades. And East could have trumped the third diamond and switched to a club himself.

Love all; dealer West


4A Q 5

!9 8 5

#7 6 3

2A K 9 5

West East

47 2 4K J 10 9 8

!10 4 3 !2

#A K Q 8 2 #9 5

28 6 4 2Q J 10 7 3


46 4 3

!A K Q J 7 6

#J 10 4