The Scottish Cup seeding committee got it right this year: the top four seeds all reached the semi-finals.
In the top half of the draw Brian Short (Dave Walker, John Matheson, Les Steel) defeated Brian Spears and now wait to see who they will meet in the Final.
On this deal from their semi-final superior technique went unrewarded. Steel opened light because he had the majors, and found himself at an uncomfortably high level. West led the ten of spades, won with the ace, and at trick two Steel played the jack of clubs.
West ducked, the king scored, and the contract made, losing just three diamonds and the king of trump. It does not help West to win the ace of clubs – declarer crosses to dummy with the ace of hearts to discard a losing diamond. And Steel still makes his contract when the ace of clubs is offside but West has the king of the hearts.
The other declarer failed to spot the extra chance and took the heart finesse at trick two. Now the contract should fail: East switches to the queen or ten of diamonds, and the defenders make three diamonds, a heart and a club.
Unfortunately East forgot to switch to a high enough diamond at his only chance to lead through strength; when he led the five declarer ducked the trick to West, who could no longer beat the contract.