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"It was a curious incident, Watson."

"I presume, Holmes, you mean that business of the dog barking in the night."

"Hardly," Sherlock Holmes replied. "I refer to the incident in this deal from our match against Professor Moriarty."

Holmes had been declarer at four hearts, and Moriarty, West, led a trump. Holmes drew trumps and forced out the ace of clubs. Moriarty then pondered and led a spade, and when dummy's jack won, Holmes threw his diamonds on the good clubs and made six.

"Moriarty prevails if he shifts to the king and jack of diamonds," Watson observed, "but how can he know? You might have held the ace of diamonds."

"The curious incident came in the bidding," the great detective explained. "If East had held four spades, he surely would have bid one spade over North's redouble. Since I was marked with four spades -- hence only four minor-suit cards -- Moriarty could lose nothing by trying to cash some diamonds."

"Amazing, Holmes."


You hold: A Q 7 6 A K J 10 5 10 5 J 6. You open one heart, and your partner bids two hearts. The opponents pass. What do you say?

A: Your hand is barely worth a try for game, especially if you're vulnerable. The key is partner's spade holding. If he can help with your spade losers, game may be worthwhile. Bid two spades. If he has K 4 3, 9 7 6 4, A 8 7 6, 7 5, he'll jump to four hearts. With 8 4 3, 9 7 6 4, A 8 7 6, K 5 he'll sign off at three hearts.

South dealer

N-S vulnerable

J 4
Q 6 4 3
Q 8 6
K Q 10 5
K 10 5 3
8 7
K J 7 4
A 9 3
9 8 2
9 2
A 9 3 2
8 7 4 2
A Q 7 6
A K J 10 5
10 5
J 6
South West North East
1 DblRedblPass
Pass1 2 Pass
4 All Pass
Opening lead -- 7

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