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THE EIGHTH Epson Worldwide Bridge Contest, held in June this year, attracted more than 100,000 players - 11,000 of them from China, the world's fastest growing bridge federation. This deal struck me as noteworthy.

Playing five-card majors and a strong no- trump, North opened One Club, South responded One Diamond, West overcalled with One Spade, and North described his balanced minimum by passing. East raised pre-emptively to Three Spades in the modern style (he would have bid the opponent's suit with a stronger raise) and, rather luckily, South ended in Five Diamonds.

There was nothing lucky in the play. Declarer ruffed the spade lead, crossed to the ace of diamonds and led a second trump. When East followed low, South correctly judged that the trumps were split 3-2, for if East had started with D Q J 6 3 he would have split his honours and played a forcing defence. So South went up with his king, scorning the safety-play.

Declarer then turned his attention to clubs and led low to the king, dropping East's queen. There was no point in East ruffing the next club lead, so he discarded. After winning with the ace, South conceded a club to West.

The next spade lead was ruffed and declarer trumped the fourth round of clubs in dummy. East could make his jack of diamonds now or later but it was the last trick for the defence.