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Game all; dealer East


4K 6 3

!K Q 10 9 7

#A 10 6 4


West East

4A Q 5 4 47 9 8 2

!8 5 3 !4

#J 7 3 #9 8 5

27 6 4 2K 9 8 5 3


410 7

!A J 6 2

#K Q 2

2A Q J 2

This was an exciting deal from an early round of this year's Macallan Invitation pairs and featured two of the game's best known players, Omar Sharif and Zia Mahmood.

As South, Omar opened One No-trump and his partner, Christian Mari of France, transferred to hearts with Two Diamonds. With his maximum and a fine fit, Omar jumped to Three Hearts and a flurry of cue-bids led to Six Hearts. The intriguing thing was that when Omar had cue-bid Four Clubs, Zia had thrown in a double with the West cards!

This psychic double had a dramatic effect on the play, for after a trump lead, Omar had drawn two more rounds of the suit before cashing the king and queen of diamonds. Both opponents petered deceptively, ostensibly showing an even number of cards in the suit, and, rather than play for the diamonds to break evenly and the 4A to be right, declarer decided to take the ruffing finesse in clubs against West's supposed king. Oh dear! It was East (Gabriel Chagas of Brazil) who turned up with 2K and his spade return sank the contract.

Zia's brilliance had undoubtedly earned the swing, but it also had its drawbacks. Later in the tournament, he again threw in a double in the middle of his opponents' constructive auction, but this time he actually held the suit. Remembering Zia's earlier coup, Chagas did not lead the suit and a slam rolled in with an overtrick instead of going two off!