Having agreed, with some reluctance, to play a system in which an opening bid of one of a major suit only guaranteed four cards, I could not resist the temptation of showing my partner the folly of his prejudices, and opened 1! with the South cards.

West joined in with 14, North raised to 2!, and East bid 24. After two passes, North pushed on with 3! and (luckily) all passed. West led the !A and, although the sight of dummy was not inspiring, matters improved slightly when East followed with !Q. The first trick was accompanied by slight hissing sounds from both opponents.

West continued with the king and another heart and, after winning in dummy but as yet having no clear idea, I led a low diamond. East went in with his king and pushed through 4J, the queen losing to the king. Instead of a diamond, which would have upset the timing, West obligingly returned a spade and suddenly I could see a chink of daylight.

After winning with 4A, I crossed to #A and ruffed dummy's last spade. Then I trumped a diamond on the table and played off the last heart. You can see East's problem. Playing before me he had to discard from #J; 2J,8,7 while I still held #5; 2A,K,10. As a result the ninth trick rolled in.

"You see?" said partner delightedly. "If you had not opened 1!, we might never have reached our best contract." I am still not convinced.

Game all; dealer South


47 6 4

!J 10 9 8 6

#A 8

25 4 2

West East

4K 9 8 5 2 4J 10 3

!A K 7 !Q

#Q 9 7 #K J 10 6

2Q 9 2J 8 7 6 3


4A Q

!5 4 3 2

#5 4 3 2

2A K 10