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The Independent Culture
I ENJOYED reading The Abbot and the Sensational Squeeze by David Bird (Gollancz, pounds 7.99) - a collection of entertaining and instructive hands played by the denizens of St Titus.

In this deal, the monastery's opponents played in a good !6 with the North-South cards. (It was not easy to reach, with limited values but a perfect fit.) Brother Lucius began with two top spades and, after ruffing, declarer embarked on what would have been a winning line of play. She started with the queen and jack of trumps (noting the fall of East's ten), then tackled diamonds.

The idea, of course, was that if the suit broke 4-2 instead of dividing evenly, it might happen that the defender with only two diamonds also held only two trumps. However, when the ace and king of diamonds were played off, Brother Lucius dropped the jack on the second round! Now, was this from #J 10 6 or #J 6? If it were a doubleton, the plan would not work, so deferring a decision, declarer drew the last trump, crossed to dummy with a club, and led a third round of diamonds. East showed out and declarer realised she had been fooled.

Without detracting from Brother Lucius's opportunism, have you spotted declarer's mistake? It would have been better to draw the two rounds of trumps with the ace and queen (duly revealing that the suit broke 3-2), then ruff a spade in hand with the !9. Dummy is re-entered with, say, a club, a fourth round of spades is ruffed high, and either minor suit to dummy allows the last trump to be drawn: a perfect dummy reversal.

Game all; dealer North


49 5 3 2

!Q J 7

#A 5 3

2A Q 3

West East

4A K 10 7 4Q J 8 6

!8 5 3 !10 4

#J 10 7 6 #8 2

27 5 2J 9 8 6 4



!A K 9 6 2

#K Q 9 4

2K 10 2