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Game all; dealer West


4A K 10 8

!K Q 9 5 2

#K 4 2


West East

45 4J 9 7 6 3

!A J !10 8 6 4

#Q 9 8 7 3 #J 5

2A K 10 9 7 26 5


4Q 4 2

!7 3

#A 10 6

2Q J 8 4 3

There was the possibility of a distinctly unusual avoidance play on this deal. Declarer missed it, and also a rather double-dummy way of recovering.

West opened 1# and, in the modern style, North overcalled with 1! rather than make an off-beat take-out double. South volunteered 1NT; North showed his spades and raised South's rebid of 2NT to game.

West led the 210 against 3NT and South won with his jack. A heart went to the jack and queen and declarer came back to hand with the 4Q for another heart lead. West took his ace and exited with a diamond to the jack and ace. There was now no way of developing a third heart trick without East gaining the lead and careful discarding by West led to a one trick defeat.

Try the effect of letting West's jack of hearts hold. Whatever he tries, a second heart lead from South establishes three tricks in the suit to join three spades, two diamonds and the club already in the bag.

Once dummy has taken the first heart, only the inspired play of cashing the 4A followed by a low heart to West's now singleton ace would have succeeded. Even then, declarer (having won the diamond switch in hand) has to cash his major suit winners ending in hand with the 4Q and follow (if he can read the position correctly) by end-playing West in the minor suits.