Bridge

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The Independent Online
In championship events players are required to have their bidding system and defensive methods clearly documented in elaborate detail on cards for their opponents' consultation. Often, especially in a pairs event, these are given only a cursory glance. This proved irritating on today's deal.

Our new opponents arrived, and I briefly explained that we were playing Precision Club and that we used reverse distributional signals. They were not very attentive and continued to discuss their dinner plans until this board came to the table.

As West, my partner opened One Heart (promising at least five cards in the suit), North doubled and South jumped to Four Spades to end the auction. West led the king of hearts, and I saw the chance for a little deception. If I could persuade declarer that I held only two hearts, he might be tempted to ruff the third round high in dummy, giving me an undeserved trump trick.

So, following our advertised methods, I followed the first heart with the two. Partner studied this for some while, cashed the ace of clubs, followed with a second top heart on which I played the jack, and led a third heart.

Still oblivious of the fact that I had clearly shown that I held a doubleton heart (in which case his percentage play would have been to trump with dummy's queen), declarer happily ruffed low and was able to make an immediate claim.

Would it have been ethical for me to have stood on my chair at trick four and shouted: "We play REVERSE signals"? I suppose not.

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