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West deals  S J T 7 5 2 
 H K 9 7 3 
 D 8 2 
 C 5 4 
 S 8 3 
 H A J 4 
 D Q T 7 6 5 4 
 C 9 2 
[both vul]  S Q 6 4 
 H Q T 8 2 
 D A J 
 C J 7 6 3 
 S A K 9 
 H 6 5 
 D K 9 3 
 C A K Q T 8 
West
Paul R

2D
3C
4D
5D
6D
all pass
North
Carl

pass
pass
pass
pass
pass
East
Paul G

2NT
4C
5C
6C
pass
South
Toby

dbl
dbl
dbl
dbl
dbl
Result: down 5, EW –1400
Wake up and smell the coffee!

I'm sure we've all woken up at one time or another and realised that we've done something terribly foolish in a moment of intoxication or insanity, and are stuck with the consequences unless we can think of a way to weasel out of it. This feeling overtook Paul (Russell) at last night's UBC. Partway through a perfectly reasonable auction which Paul R had kicked off by opening a middle-of-the-road 2D, his opponent asked the seemingly innocuous question "What does that mean?". Paul Gilbert, sitting opposite, gave a reply that was far from innocuous. Paul R now had to wake up to the fact that he had made a terrible blunder earlier in the evening. Yes, he had agreed to play Benji. In this scheme, 2D is a hand too good to open 2C—handy if it ever comes up, but vastly less useful than the vorpal diamond pre-empt, and a risky action on a 7-count.

The final contract and result were essentially inevitable. I would, however, like to congratulate Toby on the rare feat of making an ostrich (like a turkey only much much bigger), and praise Paul's ethics—he knew from the unauthorised information that his 3C bid (which would show a minimum if 2D were weak) would be misinterpreted, but he "carefully avoided gaining any advantage", in the words of the Laws.