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ON BRIDGE

Success can be hard to handle, especially when it's somebody else's. Unlucky Louie is resigned to his bad luck, but it annoys him when the card gods favor a player we call Harlow the Halo. Harlow's luck is as good as Louie's is awful.

"The man could be looking for a needle in a haystack," Louie grumbles, "and he'd find not only the needle but the farmer's daughter."

Both Louie and Harlow sat South in a duplicate game. When Louie played four spades doubled, West led his singleton diamond.

"It was a killer," Louie told me. "I won and led a trump, but West won and led the queen of clubs, deceiving East into winning with the ace and returning a diamond. West ruffed and cashed a club, and I was down with never a chance.

"Good defense," I shrugged.

"The Halo also landed at four spades doubled," Louie said, "but West led the king of clubs and shifted to his singleton diamond. Harlow's no great declarer, but he won in dummy and led the king of hearts to discard his last club."

"The good old Scissors Coup," I noted.

"West won," Louie nodded, "but couldn't put East in with a club."

The Halo was lucky indeed. West needed one trick from East to beat the contract. Since West had the ace of trumps and the ace of hearts, he knew South couldn't get fast discards for any losing clubs. West had no reason to lead anything at Trick One but his singleton to try for a ruff.

West dealer

E-W vulnerable
NORTH
4 3
K J 6 5 2
A Q J
6 4 2
WEST
A 8 7 5
A 7 4 3
6
K Q J 10
EAST
None
Q 10 9 8
8 7 5 4 2
A 9 8 5
SOUTH
K Q J 10 9 6 2
None
K 10 9 3
7 3
West North East South
1 1 2 4
Dbl All Pass
Opening lead -- K

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