An habitual rubber bridge player, pressed into service to make up the numbers in a recent duplicate event, recorded one of two top scores by playing to maximise his chances of success regardless of possible overtricks. The idea worked splendidly whenever the adverse cards lay badly. Consider this deal.

South opened 1# and North responded 1!. Usually South's rebid was 2NT (raised to game by North) but our rubber man, characteristically and practically, chose to rebid 3NT. It did not matter here, for the final contract was almost universal.

West led 2J and (in case his partner had led from 2A,J,10,9,x) East played his king. It would not have been a good idea to hold off because of the danger of a switch to a major suit, so declarer won immediately.

The contract was in no danger unless the diamonds divided 4-0 and there would be at least ten tricks if they broke 2-2. With the possible overtricks in mind, most of the field started by cashing #A. Now East had two sure tricks in the suit and there was no possible recovery.

So, how did our rubber bridge specialist fare? Realising that, although he could not cope if West held all the missing diamonds, he could manage quite well if they were all with East, he led #4 from hand at trick two! East could win this but, with two quick entries to dummy, the rest of the suit could be picked up without further loss. And that meant nine tricks and a near top score.