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North-South vulnerable, North deals

NORTH

♠7

♥A Q 8 3 2

♦K 10 6

♣K Q 8 6

WEST EAST

♠J 5 4 3 2 ♠K 10 9 6

♥K J 7 5 4 ♥10 6

♦Q 3 ♦J 9 7

♣J ♣10 9 5 4

SOUTH

♠A Q 8

♥9

♦A 8 5 4 2

♣A 7 3 2

The bidding:

NORTH EAST SOUTH WEST

1♥ Pass 2♦ Pass

3♣ Pass 3♠ Pass

4♦ Pass 5♣ Pass

6♦ All pass

Opening lead: Five of

South in today’s deal was Paul Bethe. A good player in his own right, he is the son of Henry and Kitty Bethe. His father was a National Champion and his mother a World Champion. He and his partner had a lucky misunderstanding in the auction. Paul thought his fourth-suit forcing three-spade bid followed by five clubs set clubs as the trump suit. His partner was on a different wavelength and bid the slam in the suit that, luckily, was breaking 3-2.

It looked easy at first, so Bethe won the ace of hearts on the opening lead, led a spade to the ace, and ruffed a spade. He cashed the king of diamonds, ruffed a heart to his hand, and ruffed the queen of spades. A club to his ace and the ace of diamonds left this position:

NORTH

♠Void

♥Q 8

♦Void

♣K Q 8

WEST EAST

♠J 5 ♠K

♥K J 5 ♥Void

♦Void ♦J

♣Void ♣10 9 5

SOUTH

♠Void

♥Void

♦8 5

♣7 3 2

Bethe led a club and would have claimed 12 tricks had both opponents followed. He won with dummy’s king and led a heart. He didn’t know who held the last trump, but it didn’t matter. Should either opponent ruff, Bethe would have the rest. He ruffed the heart, led a club to the queen, and led another heart, scoring his last trump “en passant.” (02/23/19)

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