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This deal from a recent pairs event looks an ordinary enough hand and you might not have expected much variation in the results, but that did not prove to be the case.

South opened One Heart and, for partnerships playing five-card majors, North had an easy raise to Two, leading to game in hearts. At other tables, North preferred a response of One No-trump and should have had an easy decision over South's rebid of Three Hearts when a raise looks automatic.

Nevertheless, two Norths ended in Three No-trumps. East led the king of diamonds and, seeing his partner's two, switched to a low club. One declarer played low and lost four tricks after West had won and returned a diamond. The other, correctly judging that West was not leading away from the king of clubs and that +600 might not be a poor score compared with a heart game, went up with the ace and later tried a spade finesse for the vital overtrick. The result was one down.

Those Souths who played in Four Hearts usually got a trump lead. It was natural to win in hand and run the nine of diamonds. All the East players rose to the occasion by winning deceptively with the king rather than the jack, and switching to a spade. (Had they not false-carded, declarer would have abandoned diamonds and tried clubs.) South won and led a second diamond, but this time East took his jack and played another spade.

It was not quite over yet: South won, drew a second trump, ruffed a diamond and exited with a spade to West's queen. On the enforced club return, some defenders guessed right, some wrong.