"To protect or not to protect," as the Bard might have said. East opened 1#, South passed, and West bid 1!. East rebid 22. West bid 2#, which was followed by two passes. It was a pairs event, and now South wondered if he was being talked out of something. Nobody had bid spades or suggested No-trumps, so there seemed a fair chance that his partner (a) held some spades and (b) was not bereft of values.

South decided to protect with 24 - not a success, for West began with a smart double, and the defence was merciless. West led 27 and, after winning in hand, declarer made the ill-judged play of a small trump to dummy's queen. East took his ace and cashed the !A, to which West followed with the ten, a clear McKenney for a diamond return, also making it clear that he was not now angling for a club ruff. East dutifully switched to the #Q and was allowed to hold the trick. South ducked the#J which followed, but West was on target when he overtook with the #A and gave partner the heart ruff. Two trump tricks later, South was ruefully writing "minus 500" on his score sheet.