Werner Heisenberg, a German scientist who was told to develop an atom bomb in World War II, said, “An expert is someone who knows some of the worst mistakes that can be made in his subject, and how to avoid them.”

The mistakes made by West and East in this deal are not among the worst ever seen, but an expert would surely have solved the problem, especially if sitting West.

What happened in four spades after West led his singleton heart?

When South overcalled East’s weak two, North might have jumped to three no-trump, which would have coasted home here. But four spades would be hard to criticize.

East won with his heart jack and cashed the heart ace. West discarded an encouraging diamond nine. East took his third heart winner, then shifted to a diamond. However, South won with the ace, cashed his two top clubs, played a trump to dummy’s jack, ruffed a club, returned to dummy with a spade, ruffed another club (bringing down West’s queen) and crossed back to the board with a trump. Then declarer discarded his diamond 10 on the club jack. He took six spades, one diamond and three clubs.

East might have worked out to shift to a trump at trick four, because if West had the diamond ace, he would have ruffed his partner’s winner at trick three and cashed the setting trick. However, West knew that he did not have the ace, and, unless the contract was cold, South could succeed only if he established dummy’s club suit. To stop that from happening, West should have ruffed the third heart and shifted to a trump, removing a vital dummy entry.

© 2018 United Feature Syndicate