"Virtue is its own reward!" misquoted South at the end of this hand.

Even if he had got it right, his less literary opponents would still have looked blank.

South opened with a conventional Two Clubs and North responded Two Diamonds. No, not a negative, which would have been Two Hearts, but a semi-positive reply. The idea behind the theory is that it is the strong hand that first bids no-trumps if that is to be the final resting-spot. More convoluted bidding followed, and South ended in Six No-trumps against which West led the 4Q.

There were 12 tricks if the clubs broke 3-2, and after winning the lead with 4A, South cashed 2A and followed with a low club. This was a routine safety-play which would have ensured the contract even if East had started with 2Q,J,8,3. West won with 2J (East discarding a heart) and continued with the jack of spades.

Clearly the clubs had to be abandoned, so declarer next tried the diamonds, to find that West held the guarded jack. Oddly enough, this was pleasing news. It meant that West was in sole control of both minor suits and, from the early play, the spades as well.

Now it was plain sailing: declarer cashed three hearts ending in dummy, and West was totally squashed in three suits. A club discard would give South his extra tricks in the suit, and if he threw anything else, he would be squeezed again when declarer cashed the newly created winner.

Literary footnote: `The only reward of virtue is virtue.' (Emerson)

Love all; dealer South


4K 9 4

!K J 8

#8 7 5 3

29 5 2

West East

4Q J 10 7 46 5 3 2

!4 !10 9 7 6 5 3

#J 9 6 2 #10 4

2Q J 8 7 23


4A 8

!A Q 2

#A K Q

2A K 10 6 4