Mae West said, "It is better to be looked over than overlooked."
Yesterday's deal featured a play that is easy to overlook, declarer's ruffing at trick two to start eloping (as it is called) his low trumps. Today's deal also requires a play that goes against the grain.
How should South declare in three no-trump after West leads the spade queen and continues with the spade two when permitted to take the first trick?
In the tournament world, a convention called Lebensohl is popular in this situation. In advance of North's takeout double, a bid at the three-level promises 8-11 high-card points. With fewer than that, South bids an artificial two no-trump. But even if you do not employ such science, North's three-heart rebid promises a strong hand.
South seems to have nine top tricks: one spade, two hearts, five diamonds and one club. The original declarer did not look further. He took the second spade with his ace, discarding a club from the board. Then he unblocked the three diamond honors, cashed the club ace and played another club. Disaster! East produced the club king and cashed four spade tricks for down two.
Declarer needs to unblock the diamonds. On the second spade, South must ditch a diamond from dummy and let East win the trick. Assuming East plays another spade (here, it cannot help to shift), declarer repeats the procedure, ducking in his hand and throwing a diamond from the board. South wins the fourth spade, unblocking the final diamond, and runs his diamond winners.