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"What would you say is the greatest asset that a bridge player can possess?" enquired dummy (who was noted for his mordant wit) after his partner had gone down in Four Hearts on this deal. Forestalling an answer, North continued: "An ability to add up to thirteen!" Unkind, but he had a point.

Playing five card majors, South opened One Heart and North responded Two Clubs. East pre-empted with Three Spades and, rather than take a penalty, South bid Four Clubs. With a close decision, North tried for game with Four Hearts and South was happy to pass.

West led his singleton spade and, after ruffing the return, led the king of diamonds. Declarer won, cashed the king of trumps, and continued with the jack to the queen and ace. There was still a trump to lose and South started on the clubs but East was able to ruff the third round and exit with a spade. Eventually South lost a diamond to go one off.

"I might have done it by taking only one round of trumps with the ace before playing on clubs," remarked South, "but that would have been double- dummy. It seemed better to hope East held three clubs."

You can see the force of his partner's comment. If East held three clubs together with the seven spades, three hearts and a diamond that he had been proved to own, he would have started with 14 cards. A more likely bet for declarer, having found the unexpected trump winner in the East hand, was to to play a third round of trumps and hope that East had started with only one diamond. Then the defenders would never have made their diamond trick. What is more, it would have worked!