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The late Edgar Kaplan was an extraordinary writer. "The Bridge World," which he edited for 30 years, has published "Bridge Master: The Best of Edgar Kaplan," a hardbound collection of his work that celebrates his erudition and insight and sparkles with his wit.

In a Mixed Pairs, Kaplan led the queen of spades against 3NT, conventionally asking East, his wife Betty, to drop the jack if she had it. But she took the ace and, placing the king with South, shifted expertly to the jack of diamonds! South, a young wife, grabbed the ace and misguessed the queen of clubs to go down anyway.

Each husband, West and North, was upset, but the Kaplans had a secret code to enable civil postmortems: Edgar could question East's defense by saying sweetly, "It was very attractive to shift to diamonds, dear."

"See!" South told her husband. "She makes the wrong play, and listen to what he says to her!"

"Bridge Master," not to be missed, $29.95 postpaid from PO Box 299, Scarsdale NY 10583.

You hold: J 6 A Q 6 5 4 A Q 3 K 10 5. South in today's deal opened 1NT with this hand. Do you agree with that action?

A: A 1NT opening has the advantage of describing the hand's strength and pattern in one bid, but to suppress the five-card major suit can occasionally lead to the loss of a heart fit and a silly contract. Most experts would be willing to open 1NT, but Edgar Kaplan was among those who insisted on opening one heart.

South dealer

N-S vulnerable

5 4
K J 3
10 7 4
A J 9 8 6
K Q 10 9 3 2
10 2
6 5 2
Q 4
A 8 7
9 8 7
K J 9 8
7 3 2
J 6
A Q 6 5 4
A Q 3
K 10 5
South West North East
1 NTPass3 NTAll Pass
Opening lead -- Q

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