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East-West vulnerable, North deals

NORTH

♠10 9 8 6 5 3

♥A K 6

♦J 6

♣J 8

WEST EAST

♠Void ♠Void

♥9 7 5 4 3 2 ♥Q J 10

♦K 9 5 4 ♦A 10 8 3 2

♣Q 7 3 ♣A K 6 4 2

SOUTH

♠A K Q J 7 4 2

♥8

♦Q 7

♣10 9 5

The bidding:

NORTH EAST SOUTH WEST

2♠ 3♣ 3NT All pass

Opening lead: Three of ♣

It is possible that you would have found a different bid on the South cards in today’s deal.

South was Australian expert Jim Wallis, who prides himself as one who plays the game with flair. Wallis knew that both opponents were void in spades. It was inconceivable to him that East-West were not cold for a game. He reasoned that, should he fail to take a single trick in a three no trump contract, his score would be better than the score the opponents would achieve in their best contract.

East won the opening club lead with his king and continued with the ace of clubs. Wallis contributed the 10 of clubs under the ace and West “unblocked” the suit by playing the queen! South’s nine of clubs took the third round of the suit and Wallis scampered home with 10 tricks and a huge result. Note that East-West have an easy 11 tricks in a heart contract.

We would love to have a transcript of the East-West conversation after this deal was played. The struggle for courtesy must have been immense. East’s ace of clubs at trick two, rather than a low club, might have been necessary had South started with a doubleton queen. West’s unblock catered to partner having a six-card club suit without the ace of diamonds. It likely ended with East making a solemn vow that he would double with his hand in the future rather than making an overcall. We hope it didn’t end their partnership. (02/23/18)