This deal, from rubber bridge, led to one of those inelegant competitive auctions (influenced by the part score) with which we are all only too familiar. The play is the thing but it was the revealing auction that led to South's taking enough sufficiently good views for success.

West opened 14 and North, an uninhibited bidder, overcalled with 2D. East raised to 24 and - expecting his partner to hold a better suit for an overcall at the Two level - South judged that his diamond support was sufficient for a raise. West continued with 34 and after two passes South, desperate to protect his part score, tried 42. Showing well-placed confidence, North passed, and passed again (!) when East doubled to end the auction.

West led 45 against Four Clubs and South took stock. As the lead had been neither a top spade nor a top diamond, he judged that East might well have top cards in both these suits. So, for any sort of opening bid, West should hold 2K and !K.

Accordingly declarer won the lead on the table and led a trump to his ace, dropping West's singleton king. With his early diagnosis confirmed, South continued with a heart finesse and discarded a losing diamond on !A. Then he was able to pick up East's remaining trumps and ended by losing just two spades and a diamond.

"My double cost only 110 points," explained East. Well, I suppose that was true.

Love all (N-S 60); dealer West


4A 4

!A Q 3

#9 6 5 4 3 2

210 8

West East

4Q 10 8 5 3 4K J 9

!K 10 7 6 4 !9 8 5 2

#A 8 #K 10 7

2K 2J 7 3


47 6 2


#Q J

2A Q 9 6 5 4 2