## Problem no. 39, 2009

### The problem

 A 4 – – – K J 9 2 10 7 5 – – – – – – Q 8 6 3 – – –

Recently, I watched a vuegraph match on Bridge Base Online. Most of deals weren't interesting, but on one of them I noticed something most persons in the audience surely missed. I have forgotten the rest of the deal, but I remember that it was notrump and that the spade suit was divided like this.
What did I notice?

### Solution

The spade suit is of a type I use to call noli me tangere (Latin for "don't touch me"): North-South get one spade trick if they play the suit, but two if East-West play it. The unusual thing is that the three of spades is an important card...
If East is on lead and returns the suit, South covers cheaply and beats West's card with the ace, e.g. five-six-nine-ace. South then leads the four towards his hand, once again covering cheaply, say, five-seven-eight-jack. When South gains the lead next time, he plays his top spade. West wins the trick, but then South is left with the three of spades, which is one step higher than West's deuce.

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