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Love all; dealer West


4 7 6 4

! A Q J 10

pounds J 9 8 3

2 8 3

West East

4 K 4 10

! 9 7 6 5 3 2 ! K 8 4

pounds 7 4 pounds A K Q 10 6

2 K J 6 2 2 Q 9 7 5


4 A Q J 9 8 5 3 2

! none

pounds 5 2

2 A 10 4

Like many bridge players, I suppose, I have the bad habit of jotting down hands on the backs of old envelopes, often without the bidding or any clue as to the final contract. Then, perhaps years later, there is the problem of guessing why the deal was noteworthy. Today's hand was a recent discovery.

Presumably, East had opened the bidding with One Diamond and South's overcall of Four Spades had been passed out. After a diamond lead to the 10, East continues with top diamonds and, after trumping with the jack and being over-ruffed, declarer is surely safe.

He wins the club switch, draws the outstanding trump, and uses dummy's two spade entries to take a ruffing finesse in hearts, so disposing of his losing clubs.

So where was the drama in that? Then suddenly I remembered: West had been the French star Dominique Pilon, and when declarer had ruffed the third diamond high, he calmly discarded a club!

Now, as East was "marked" as holding the missing king of trumps, possibly guarded, it appeared to declarer that his safest plan was to lead the ace and another club. Then the last losing club could be ruffed on the table and the king of trumps picked up, with a finesse if necessary.

Unhappily for him, East won the second club and led another diamond. This time Pilon did over-ruff and the contract failed.