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North deals  S 6 3 
 H Q 8 7 5 3 2 
 D J 9 8 5 
 C
 S K T 9 8 
 H
 D 7 3 
 C K Q 8 7 4 3 
both vul  S 7 2 
 H A K 6 4 
 D Q 6 
 C A T 9 6 2 
 S A Q J 5 4 
 H J T 
 D A K T 4 2 
 C

West



pass
all pass
North
C.C.

2H
3H
East


pass
pass
South
R.R.

2S¹
4H
¹ forcing

The Rueful Rabbit in the Gold Cup
by Campboy. Duh.

Last week, I found myself playing in a Gold Cup match, in harness with my usual partner Colin the Corgi (that facetious young man from Oxbridge). My Guardian Angel was also somewhere in the vicinity. On this board, sitting South, I picked up SA Q J 5 4, HJ T, DA K T 4 2, C5. I was still sorting my cards when Jonat- erm- Colin bid 2H (first in at amber), which I even remembered to alert (it's a "weak two" - we play all the latest conventions). My hand seemed quite good, and the scientists amongst you will probably even be able to tell me how many points it has, but I was quite sure that we should bid game. After some thought, I decided that 4S could be better than 4H if partner had support, so I bid a forcing 2S to find out. When Colin merely rebid his hearts I bid 4H.

The CK was led, and Colin put down S6 3, HQ 8 7 5 3 2, DJ 9 8 5, CJ. A very poor dummy given his bid, but he does like to pre-empt. The king held, and LHO switched to a trump, which his partner won with the king. A spade switch followed, and I could see no way of avoiding the finesse, so I put up the jack, which lost to the king. I won the spade continuation with the queen, and led a second trump, won by the ace. RHO switched to a club, and I had to pitch a spade or a diamond from hand with no reason to choose one over the other. With a vague feeling that throwing a diamond could hurt my chances of winning the beer, I threw a spade, and asked Colin to "ruff it, please".
He facetiously pointed out that the contract was two spades. "I did put spades on the right, you know". That's all very well, but he put hearts on the left, and it's hard to tell which side is which from my side of the table. Apparently he had passed the forcing two spade bid "because I opened on cheese". Feeling quite glad that I had chosen to "pitch" a spade, I threw a heart from dummy, and then tried to count the new trump suit. Whichever way I looked at it, it didn't seem like many had gone, so I cashed the SA, and RHO threw a diamond. Feeling quite sure that my S5 wasn't top, I turned my attention to diamonds, and the queen fell. I led out diamonds and LHO ruffed in, but I was able to ruff back in and my diamonds and the HQ were winners. Contract made!

I think my Guardian Angel can take credit for the 6-IMP swing in our favour. Colin's 2H bid was necessary to stop EW bidding to 3C (which made +130 for our teammates), and his pass necessary to stop him going off in 4H (which is on a finesse), but the vital card was the phantom seven of diamonds which appeared in my hand for trick 6!