I've heard a diplomat defined as someone who thinks twice before saying nothing. Diplomacy is often lacking at bridge; players speak twice before thinking.

At today's four hearts, South covered West's jack of clubs with dummy's queen, and East won and shifted to a trump. West took the A-Q and led a third trump.

South could no longer ruff a spade in dummy. He took the A-K of diamonds, discarded his last diamond on the king of clubs and ruffed a diamond, hoping for a 3-3 break. But when West threw a club, South conceded down one.

"Play low from dummy on the first club," North stated. "West can't effectively shift to trumps, so you can ruff your spade loser in dummy and still set up a club discard for your losing diamond."

North was correct. But as players will do, he kept talking too long.

"Once you cover the jack of clubs," he insisted, "you're dead."

Players often produce a hasty analysis at the table that is shown to be in error later. North should have quit talking while he was ahead. South can win the third trump in dummy, discard a diamond on the king of clubs, and ruff a club. He takes the top diamonds and ruffs a diamond. When West discards, South leads his last trump at the 10th trick.

Dummy has the A-8 of spades, a diamond, and a club. West must keep a high club, so only two spades. Dummy discards the club. East must keep a high diamond and also can save only two spades. So South takes the A-K of spades and wins the 13th trick with his nine.