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The usual contract on this deal from a pairs event was Four Spades. It was not difficult for the defenders to beat this by one trick except at one table where they had a very much easier task.

As you can imagine, there was a variety of different auctions here but, more often than not, East became declarer in Four Spades. As long as the defenders remembered to switch to a trump at some point before a third round of diamonds was played, he was held to nine tricks.

At one table, North opened Two Diamonds - the Multi, showing here either a Weak Two in one of the majors or a powerful three-suited hand. Now there is more than one explanation for the bid that East made next when he overcalled with Four Hearts. Perhaps he knew his customers or, as he stoutly maintained afterwards, he pulled the wrong card from his bidding box.

It was now absolutely clear (!) to South that his partner's Multi was based on spades and so he bid Four Spades - not unreasonably assuming, of course, that his diagnosis was right.

Why West passed at this point instead of contesting with Five Hearts is a mystery (as SJ Simon once asked, "Lunatic or genius?"), but it certainly worked. A puzzled but helpless North passed and East was well content. At this table, the defenders had few problems as they collected their 600 points the hard way, at 100 per undertrick.

GAME ALL: Dealer North


] 5 2

_ A Q J 9 8 7

+ 9 3

[ J 10 7

West East

] Q ] A K J 10 9 7 3

_ 6 5 4 2 _ 10

+ 7 2 + J 5 4

[ A K 6 5 3 2 [ 9 8


] 8 6 4

_ K 3

+ A K Q 10 8 6

[ Q 4