John Wesley said, "Once in seven years I burn all my sermons; for it is a shame if I cannot write better sermons now than I did seven years ago."

Do cartoonists or bridge columnists recycle every seven years? Some, probably.

In this deal, though, a seven plays a star role. How does the play go in four hearts by South?

The bidding followed a predictable course. However, some Norths would respond three hearts, a pre-emptive jump in competition showing four trumps and a weak hand.

Looking at matters from declarer's point of view, he seemed to have only three losers: one spade and two diamonds. However, West found a resourceful defense.

He led the diamond ace and cashed the diamond king, East playing high-low to show his doubleton. From the point count, it was unlikely that East had an honor card that could take a trick. Instead, West set his eye on a trump winner.

At trick three, West cashed the spade ace. Then he led a low diamond. East, a fine fellow, ruffed with the heart seven, which effected an uppercut. South overruffed with the queen, but West collected a trump trick.

Note two things. First, West did well not to lead the diamond queen at trick four. When you want partner to ruff, lead a loser, not a winner. Second, on this deal it was not necessary to cash the spade ace first. But if South had 1=5=2=5 distribution, and West led the third diamond without cashing the spade ace, when East ruffed, declarer could have discarded his spade, making a loser-on-loser play.

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