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A Recovery

West Deals
None Vul
A K 7 3 2
A K Q 3
A Q 2
A K 9 3
10 5
10 9 8 2
J 9 4
West North East South
Pass 1 1 1 NT
Pass 3 Pass 3 NT
Pass 4 NT All Pass

I won the opening spade lead in my hand. It doesn't take a genius to realize that all I really needed to do was take the club finesse, and, whether it won or lost, score two clubs, two spades, two hearts, and, assuming diamonds broke, four diamonds.
Perhaps it was the potential missed 6 slam which hindered my thinking. Perhaps I was trying to make 6 NT. Whatever the reason, on the second trick, I ducked a heart to East. East returned a low spade, and West won and continued spades, which I won, having pitched a heart and a club from dummy.
Disheartened, I played the top diamonds with West showing out on the third round. Well, at least they split. If hearts split also, I'd still make this contract, even after my initial misplay. When I played off the top hearts, I got bad news. West showed out on the third round.
Somewhere, out of the fog that was my brain, I started counting. East started with four hearts, five spades (presumably, from the bidding), and three diamonds, and thus only one club. Aha! I played the A , planning to play the queen to West's king. Instead, I dropped East's stiff king, which allowed me to make an overtrick.
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Thomas Andrews (bridge@thomasoandrews.com), © 1995-2009.
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