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The Independent Online
It is rare that a two card ending has points of interest, but this deal from a recent pairs event proved the exception. It was a hand where anyone registering a plus scored well.

East opened One Spade and, after two passes, North faced a problem. He had to re-open, but was it better to double or to bid One No-Trump? He chose well when he doubled. Now East should have taken some action. One No-Trump would probably have silenced South and played well, and redoubling would have got over the idea of a good hand. In practice he passed, South bid Two Hearts and East gave up.

West led the 10 of spades and, after ducking the first round, declarer won the spade continuation. It was by no means clear that it was right to play trumps immediately and his first move was a diamond from the table. East took his ace, cashed a spade, and returned a diamond to the king. Next came a club to the ace and another club. East took his king and exited with a diamond. Declarer ruffed, cashed the queen of clubs successfully, and now it was time for the trumps.

A finesse of the queen lost to East who did well to return his 13th spade. South's club went away, West false-carded with the !10 and dummy over- ruffed. This left dummy with !4 #9, East with ! 7 6, declarer with !J 8 and West with !9 #10.

Unnecessarily fooled by West's play in hearts, declarer now led a trump from dummy and finessed the eight to go one down. It would have been better to lead dummy's diamond instead. If East follows suit, the only chance is that he holds the nine of hearts as well. And if, as happens, he shows out, South can ruff safely with his eight.