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What happened in today's deal was quite impossible -- until West made it possible.

Neither North's takeout double with a one-suited hand nor South's 1NT would have appealed to me. East's penalty double of 3NT was a sure bet that could have produced at least 500 points.

At the second trick West shifted, unfortunately for him, to a low club. When East played the ten, South could have run for cover with eight tricks -- no disaster. Instead he brazenly won with the ACE of clubs and led a spade to West's ace.

The defense could then have raked in five hearts, two spades and three clubs for down six, but West led ... another low club. Making three!

West's second club lead was thoughtless. It was impossible for South to have the ace of hearts. If he did, he'd had nine tricks. So West couldn't lose by leading a heart.

Perhaps you have trouble believing that the whole thing really happened, but the scene was an expert Trials to pick a French national team.


You hold: 9 2 A Q J 9 5 6 2 J 10 7 5. Dealer, at your left, opens three clubs. Your partner doubles, and the next player passes. What do you say?

ANSWER: Your partner's double is for takeout. He has a hand worth 17 points or more and probably has support for all three unbid suits. Since you have a fine heart suit, jump to four hearts. To pass for penalty might net a profit, but you'll usually do better to bid your makable game.

South dealer

Neither side vulnerable

Q 10 6
K 7
A K Q 10 7 3
9 4
A K J 4
8 4 2
J 5
K 8 6 2
9 2
A Q J 9 5
6 2
J 10 7 5
8 7 5 3
10 6 3
9 8 4
A Q 3
1 Pass1 SDbl(!)Pass
1 NT(!)Pass 3NT Dbl

All Pass
Opening lead -- S K

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