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THE 1999 MSN Gaming Zone Cavendish Invitational Pairs, played in the United States, set a new record - the 64 pairs raising $1.2m in the auction. This is serious money and provides a bigger financial incentive than any other bridge event.

Bridge tends to hit the headlines when there is a major cheating scandal. Fortunately no whiff of impropriety has attached itself to this event nor, as far as I am aware, any of the other big-money auction pairs that now take place. The last thing bridge needs now is scandal of that sort, with it about to become an Olympic discipline, initially as a demonstration sport, in the Winter Olympics in 2002.

The winners of this year's Cavendish were Bobby Levin and Steve Weinstein of the US. They went for $40,000 in the auction, the sixth highest bid - the favourites were Lauria and Versace of Italy who raised $56,000. Levin and Weinstein made it a double by winning the teams as well.

This hand featured in the teams, where at several tables South played in Six Hearts doubled, as a sacrifice against their opponents' spade contract. At one table West cashed the ace and king of diamonds. Fred Gitelman, East, needed to find a way to alert his partner to the fact that he could overruff dummy. The bidding at their table made it likely that South was void in spades, so on the second diamond he spectacularly discarded his ace of spades!

Sadly, the bulletin does not disclose whether South did indeed continue diamonds.

Game all; dealer South


48 4 2

!10 9 5

#J 6

2K Q J 6 3

West East

4K Q 9 5 4A J 10 7 6 3

!6 !J

#A K 10 9 7 2 #8

210 9 2A 8 7 4 2



!A K Q 8 7 4 3 2

#Q 5 4 3