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NOWADAYS THERE are so many variants of Blackwood and Roman Key Card Blackwood that, in the rubber bridge game, it is not sufficient simply to specify "Blackwood" at the start. This deal led to a typical misunderstanding, although with a happy outcome.

South opened One Spade and North raised to Three Spades. (With only secondary values and no distribution, I would have thought Two Spades enough.) South plunged to 4NT and, playing traditionally, North responded Five Clubs. South (a modernist), followed the idea of inverting the responses of Five Clubs and Five Diamonds. Assuming that his partner held an ace, he jumped to Six Spades.

All passed and West led the jack of clubs against the slam and declarer realised that a wheel had come off. At trick 1 he covered with dummy's queen and winning East's king with his ace - a so-called Kempson Coup, suggesting that he now had a club loser. He drew trumps in two rounds and started on hearts. West took his ace and tried to cash his ten of clubs. Declarer ruffed and dummy's losing diamonds went away on the long hearts.

Even if West was not familiar with South's stratagem, there was no rush to cash the ten of clubs. No hand that he could hold would allow him to discard all of dummy's losing clubs. A diamond switch was safe enough, as a possible club winner could not slip away.

Game all; dealer South


4Q 10 9 6

!Q 9 3

#Q J

2Q 9 7 6

West East

45 2 44 3

!A 4 !6 5 2

#10 8 7 6 4 3 #A 9 5

2J 10 2 2K 8 5 4 3


4A K J 8 7

!K J 10 8 7

#K 2