BRIDGE

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The Independent Culture
THE striped-tailed ape is reputed to move at lightning speed in an emergency, and a bridge convention has been named after it. If, in the middle of a competitive sequence, you suspect your opponents can make a slam, you double when they have reached only game. If everyone passes you have shown a potential profit but, should they redouble, you retreat to your agreed suit with the speed of the said ape hoping they will not bid their slam. But what about a retrospective striped-tailed ape?

South opened Two Diamonds - a Multi, showing either a weak two in a major or a strong balanced hand. West's possible actions of Two or Three No- trumps were both natural but, although Four No-trumps for the minors was a possibility, he passed. North bid Two No-trumps and South bid Three Spades to show his hand type. West joined in with Three No-trumps and North bid Four Spades.

East doubled and all passed. Twelve tricks were easy but East-West scored a comfortable gain when, in losing only 1190 points, they found their team-mates collecting 1160 in Six Spades doubled.

Yes, Four Spades was almost certain to have been passed out, but we never told the rest of our team exactly what had happened at our table. And the par result on the hand? If North-South collect their club ruff against Seven Diamonds doubled - not easy - their reward is only 1100 points.

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