Games: Bridge

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Love all; dealer South


4A Q 2


#K 7 6 2

2A K Q J 10

West East

4J 10 8 4K 9 7 6

!Q J 10 8 6 !J 5 4 3 2

#A J 3 #none

25 3 29 8 7 6


45 4 3

!A 9

#Q 10 9 8 5 4

24 2

A number of old favourites are being republished under the Batsford banner. One such is Masters and Monsters by the late Victor Mollo.

This deal from the book has a curiously simple point. During an exchange of hard luck stories, Karapet (the unluckiest player of all time) described how, after reaching Five Diamonds and getting a heart lead, he "knew" that he was going down. As he explained: "The contract is unbreakable unless the trumps are 3-0 and then only if East has the void and also SK. And even then you are still home as long as West has three clubs. The odds against everything being wrong must be at least 30 to 1 and

He was interrupted by the Hideous Hog who explained that it was not an unlucky hand at all, for he had been fortunate enough to escape a spade lead. After the actual heart lead, the contract was virtually 100 per cent.

Can you see the point that the Hog was making? The secret of the play lies in overtaking the king of hearts with the ace at trick one! Then you lead the ten of diamonds and run it if West plays low. Even if this loses to the singleton jack, East will not be able to attack spades from his side of the table, and the losers are restricted to at most two trump tricks.