Monday 22 February 1999
West opened One Spade, North doubled and, after a pass by East, Ib had a difficult bid.
Perhaps One and a half no-trumps would have been about right but, following the archaic rules of this game, he chose One no-trump and was pleased to be given another chance when North raised to Two. He went on to game and West led the queen of spades against Three no-trumps.
East unblocked with his king and, when this was allowed to win, continued spades. Declarer won the third round of the suit and started on the diamonds, studying the discards closely. East parted with a low club and West threw first the eight of hearts, then a low spade, and finally the king of hearts!
This was easy, thought Ib. It was quite clear (to him, at any rate) that West had started with 4Q J 10 9 7 4 !A K 8 #9 4 2xx. So he played off the ace of clubs and followed with another club from dummy. When the queen did not appear from East, he went up with his king, exuding quiet confidence. To his horror, West discarded the seven of hearts!
Of course, when you think about it, West's choice of discards could not possibly cost, but would it have occurred to you at the table?
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