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The Independent Culture
THIS DEAL, from the Macallan Invitation Pairs played earlier this year, featured a positively Machiavellian defence by (appropriately enough) the Italian pair Versace and Lauria, who finished the event in second place. Their victims were Britain's Nicola Smith and Justin Hackett.

South opened 1 No-trumps (14-16 points) and North transferred to spades with !2. Hackett dutifully bid 42 and, with his minimum, rebid 43 when North explored with #3. As this promised three-card spade support, North was happy enough to go on to the spade game. West led !7 against 44 and, although declarer tried the queen from dummy, East played low in an untroubled fashion. At trick two declarer led dummy's singleton club and East went in with his ace. Most players would have returned their singleton diamond at this point (or, at least, considered it) but Versace returned a low heart.

Completely in the dark as to who held !K, declarer decided to play safe. He won with his ace and discarded dummy's losing heart on his 2K. Now it was time to play trumps and, catering for the possibility that West had started with four spades headed by the queen, South cashed his king of trumps and ran the jack. East won with his queen (which was nothing terrible) but now, when he finally returned his singleton diamond and got a ruff, this was a disaster for the British - they were the only North- South pair to fail in the vulnerable game, and this proved to be very costly.

North-South game; dealer South


4A 10 8 3 2

!Q 10 8

#K Q 10 4


West East

46 4 4Q 9 5

!7 3 !K 9 6 5 4

#A 9 8 7 2 #5

210 8 7 6 2A Q 9 4


4K J 7

!A J 2

#J 6 3

2K J 5 3