"I need a loan," Unlucky Louie told me. "I'm a bit short."
"Again?" I asked mildly. Louie is forever borrowing money from me or from somebody. Admittedly, he always pays it back.
"What's the problem now?"
"Some Christmas bills," Louie shrugged. "I need a few dollars to Yuletide me over."
I keep telling Louie that if his bridge-table technique were more careful, he wouldn't need bailouts; he would save a ton of money in his regular penny Chicago games.
When Louie was today's South, North's bid of three clubs was a "limit raise," and Louie had a go at 3NT. West led a spade, and Louie played low from dummy and won with his queen. He next finessed in clubs, attacking his best suit. East produced the king and returned a spade, and Louie ducked and won the third spade.
At that point (too late) Louie counted his tricks. He had four clubs, two spades, and two diamonds. When he duly led a heart, West won and took two spades for down one.
Louie booted a textbook play problem. If the club finesse loses, Louie will need a heart trick. But since West's long spades are a threat, Louie must force out West's possible entry early, and that entry can only be the ace of hearts.
At Trick Two Louie should lead a heart. If West takes the ace to continue spades, Louie ducks, wins the third spade, and finesses in clubs; he is safe when East has no more spades (and would be safe for nine tricks if the East-West spades were divided 4-4).