Bridge

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"Lunatic or genius?" was a question originally asked by Skid Simon. Into which category do East's activities on this deal fall?

East opened One Spade and, too strong for an immediate Three Hearts, South doubled. West raised to Two Spades and, after two passes, South showed his hearts and was raised to game.

All passed and West led 410. East took his top spades and - wait for it! - made the extraordinary switch to #2. (A club instead would have led to a comfortable one-trick set.) This had all the earmarks of a singleton and, rather than block the suit, declarer won with his ace and started on trumps. When West showed out on the second round, South continued the suit to lose to East's queen.

Belatedly, back came 210 and, after winning with the ace, declarer decided to play off the rest of his trumps. Although the finesse of #10 seemed marked, there was the possibility that West held both 2K and 2Q and would be squeezed flat.

Guessing what was happening (after all, if South had held the missing #J, he would have claimed already), West discarded intelligently, keeping #9,8 and 25 for his last three cards while dummy came down to #K,Q,10 and declarer to #3 28,4.

It was now crystal clear to South that West had been reduced to #J,9,8, but the finesse of #10 saw East claiming the rest for a three-trick defeat. By giving declarer the chance of making his game, East had scored an extra 200 points for his side.

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