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The Independent Culture
THIS BOARD, from a local pairs duplicate, produced some strange results - ours the strangest of all - when our opponents had a bidding misunderstanding. South 1 opened 1NT (12-15), and West and North passed. East bid Two Clubs, alerted as being for the majors. West bid Two Spades, and partner's Three Diamonds was passed round to West, who bid Three Spades. Partner tried Four Diamonds, but West was there again with Four Spades, which North doubled. The exact sequence of our defence remains something of a haze, but it resulted in five off, for 1100.

At another table, over partner's weak 1NT opener, North - hoping that his diamonds would provide the necessary tricks - bid Three No-trumps. West led a small spade, won by the jack in hand. The +J was covered by the king, which declarer ducked, so he lacked the further entries to dummy he would have had if he had won and returned to his +Q. The blockage in the club suit was fortuitous, and he came to nine tricks via six diamonds, two spades and a heart.

Technically, perhaps, he should have taken the spade lead with the ace. After the same initial diamond play, he could have won the king with the ace, returned to +Q, then played a spade towards dummy, forcing an entry to table.

The "Orbis Hand of the Week" is an innovative idea. It's a competition, played on the Internet, with a single $50,000 subscription to an Orbis Mutual Fund of the winner's choice. Beginning on 1 September, on every Wednesday for 13 weeks, Zia Mahmood presents a new hand on Contestants may submit one answer per week, and every correct answer is awarded entry into the prize-draw. For full details, visit the website prior to the start of the competition.


] Q 10 2

_ 7 6

+ A 10 9 8 6 5 2

[ 9

] K 9 7 6 3

_ 8 5 3 2

+ K 7

[ A K

] A J 4

_ A J 9 4

+ Q J

[ 10 7 6 2

] 8 5

_ K Q 10

+ 4 3

[ Q J 8 5 4 3