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ON BRIDGE

Many players know the odds against holding a "Yarborough" -- a hand with no card above a nine -- are 1827 to 1. But though today's deal arose in Reno at the ACBL's Spring Championships, I doubt anyone could have quoted the odds against it: South and East both had Yarboroughs!

North's bid of four hearts was rather bold, since South had no more strength than his bidding had promised. South won the first diamond and led the king of clubs; and West won, cashed two diamonds and led the king of spades.

South played low from dummy, won the next spade with the ace and ruffed the jack to reach his hand for a trump finesse. When the ace dropped West's king next, South escaped for down one.

The defense can do a trick better if West leads a fourth diamond after taking the first spade. South loses a trump trick whatever he does.

I've never heard of a double Yarborough, but Reno was a good place for one. What were the odds against it? I make them 182 million to 1.

You hold: A J 6 A Q J 7 A 5 4 K Q J. You open 2NT, promising 21 or 22 points, and your partner bids three spades. The opponents pass. What do you say?

A: Your partner's response is forcing; he promises enough strength for game and probably has a five-card suit. Since you have three-card support, raise to four spades. To do more is tempting, but you've already promised a strong hand. If you have a slam, partner will bid again.

West dealer

Neither side vulnerable
NORTH
A J 6
A Q J 7
A 5 4
K Q J
WEST
K Q 10
K 10
K Q J 10 9 7
A 10
EAST
9 8 5 3 2
9 5 2
6
8 7 6 3
SOUTH
7 4
8 6 4 3
8 3 2
9 5 4 2
West North East South
1 Dbl Pass 1
3 4 Pass Pass
Dbl All Pass
Opening lead -- K

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