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The Independent Culture
EVEN ONE-WORD pleasantries at the table can prove costly. There was the British player who reached Six No-trumps, inspected dummy to see 13 top tricks, and said "Pity!". His French opponents claimed that he had called "Petit!" (which would have enabled them to win a trick). Fortunately the tournament director was bilingual.

There was a less happy ending on this deal where South ended in Four Spades. The defence started with !2 to the ace, !3 to the jack and king and, after some thought, a third heart. It seemed clear that the suit was breaking 4-4 so, after studying dummy's spot cards closely, declarer flamboyantly requested "Anything!". Dummy chose #2. Two rounds of trumps revealed the 4-1 break and, forced to abandon trumps, declarer tried the clubs. But East ducked the first round and now there was no way of avoiding either a club ruff or, if trumps are drawn, 2A and another heart.

So, what should dummy have played at trick three? A club discard is surely best - then, as long as the clubs are not 6-1, the suit can be played safely after two rounds of trumps when the 4-1 break is discovered.

Bridge news: In the World Bridge Championships in Lille, France, the Vivendi Rosenblum teams started with three days of round robin with four teams qualifying from each of the 16 sections.

The rest of the event is played on a straight knockout basis in matches of 56 boards.

Unlike those of the Olympics, the rules permit countries to field as many teams as they like. Of the original 12 British entries, the teams captained by John Armstrong, Gus Calderwood, David Price, Marc Smith, Paul Hackett and Peter Goodman have qualified.

In the Louis Vuitton McConnell cup (The women's event, played with a similar format, but a much smaller field), only one of Britain's two entries - the team captained by Liz McGowan - has qualified.

Scottish supporters claimed a partial victory when Michael Rosenburg collected $35,000 for winning the fiendishly difficult par contest. Although Michael's (bridge) formative years were spent in Scotland, he was born in the US, where he now lives.

Game all; dealer South


4Q 10 9 8

!7 4

#7 6 5 2

2Q 10 4

West East

46 5 4 2 43

!K 10 8 2 !A 9 6 3

#J 9 3 #10 8 4

25 2A 8 6 3 2


4A K J 7

!Q J 5

#A K Q

2K J 7