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Neither vulnerable, West deals

NORTH

♠8 5 3

♥Q J 9 2

♦A 3 2

♣A Q 8

WEST EAST

♠A K Q 10 9 6 ♠7 2

♥K 8 ♥A 10 6 5 4

♦9 6 5 ♦J 8 7

♣K 10 ♣7 5 3

SOUTH

♠J 4

♥7 3

♦K Q 10 4

♣J 9 6 4 2

The bidding:

WEST NORTH EAST SOUTH

1♠ Dbl Pass 2♣

2♠ Pass Pass 2NT

Pass 3♣ All pass

Pick a minor

Opening lead: Ace of

“Watson, what about the curious incident of the dog in the night time?”

“But Holmes, the dog did nothing in the night time.”

“Yes, Watson, that was the curious incident.”

Sherlock Holmes deduced, from the stable dog’s silence while a crime was committed in the stable, that the criminal was well known to the dog. Sometimes in bridge we draw inferences from what our opponent, or our partner, didn’t do.

West in today’s deal was Australian Martin Bloom. He continued with the king of spades at trick two; East following with the encouraging seven and then the two. Bloom reasoned that his partner had no interest in a spade ruff, as East knew from the auction that South was also short in spades. Should East have a strong diamond holding, he would have played the two of spades on the opening lead to encourage a shift. Bloom saw that his own club holding was doomed under the ace-queen, and the contract couldn’t be defeated if South had the ace of hearts and the king of diamonds. Even just the queen of diamonds, instead of the king, would make the contract solid.

Bloom saw that the only helpful card partner could have, consistent with the play so far, was the ace of hearts. Bloom shifted to the king of hearts at trick three and continued with a heart to East’s ace. A third heart was ruffed by South and over ruffed by Bloom for the setting trick. Nice shift!

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