Bridge

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OPENING BIDS are becoming more bizarre as the years go by. North- South did well in the face of an awkward barrage on this deal. As South remarked afterwards (modestly enough): "I played it unnecessarily well! I should conserve my efforts for hands where it really matters."

West, at favourable vulnerability, opened Three No-trumps. This was explained as a Four-level pre-empt in either minor based on a broken suit (not solid). North doubled - what else could he do? - and East, who did not fancy the chances in Three No-trumps doubled, retreated to Four Clubs. This would have cost about 800 points, but South, who now had a shrewd idea which minor was involved, tried Four Spades. Now North, still in the dark, raised to Five Spades and, perhaps without much excuse, South went on to Six Spades.

West led 2K and at least 2A was not ruffed. Declarer drew just one round of trumps and followed with #A, #K and a diamond ruff. Next came a second round of trumps, won in hand, and the good news that the spades broke 2-2. Triumphantly, South led #10 and, when West threw a club, discarded dummy's remaining club to leave East on lead.

As soon as East could not produce another club, declarer claimed. East would be forced to lead a heart and, with two trumps left to take care of dummy's losing hearts, it was all over. Yes, !K was right all the time. Anyone would have made the contract. But at least South had the satisfaction of knowing that he would have succeeded even if East had held !K.

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