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The Independent Culture
THE MACALLAN International Pairs, played this week in London, is a fine opportunity to watch many of the world's top pairs in action. One aspect of the event, which makes it much easier to follow, is that all of the pairs are restricted to playing basically natural bidding systems.

This was a deal from the event shortly after its inauguration in the Sixties. It led to a wide variety of contracts. Three no-trumps by South yielded a safe 10 tricks. Six Diamonds (!) by North was always doomed; a sacrifice in Six Hearts by East-West cost only 300 points (but should have cost much more); but the most interesting possibility was Six Clubs by South. One declarer went down by simply hoping for the best in diamonds, but the other two in the same contract found a neat way to improve their chances.

After the lead of the ten of hearts, the successful declarers ruffed in dummy, cashed the ace of spades (throwing a diamond from hand), and ruffed a spade. Then came another heart ruff and another spade ruff. Now - the key play - South led the ace of hearts and trumped it in dummy in order to ruff another spade. The fortunate 4-4 spade meant that he could now draw trumps and the ace of diamonds was still on the table to access the 13th spade. And if the spades were not 4-4? Then, as long and the trumps were not 3-0, there would still be time to try the diamonds.

The Macallan International Pairs will take place at the White House Hotel (Near Great Portland Street Underground). Session times: Wednesday 20 Jan. 5.30pm-11pm, Thursday 12 noon-4pm and 5.30pm-11pm, Friday 12.30pm- 6pm. Tickets at the door.

Love all; dealer West


4A 8 5 3 2


#A 6 4 2

28 7 6 3

West East

4J 7 6 4 4K Q 10 9

!Q 10 9 8 7 2 !K 6 4 3

#K J 5 #10 9

2none 25 4 2



!A J 5

#Q 8 7 3

2A K Q J 10 9