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Cuppers: a comic revue by Alex Foley
featuring Jonathan Monroe as Jar-Jar Binks!

Episode I: The Phantom Endplay

Contract:
4S by South
 S  — 
 H K 8 6 
 D  — 
 C 8 6 4 
 S
 H A 4 
 D
 C Q 7    
both vul  S
 H (J) 9 5 
 D (4) 
 C T 9 
 S J 9 4 
 H (J) 
 D (4) 
 C K J 

Early in our first round match against St Cats II, I picked up SQ 7 3, HA Q 4, DA Q J 7, CQ 7 3. My RHO opened 1S (all vulnerable), and I was too strong to pass, so I had to grit my teeth and overcall 1NT, hoping Qxx would be good enough. LHO bid 2H, and opener rebid 2S, ending the auction.

From a choice of unattractive leads I picked the DA, and dummy hit with ST 8, HK T 8 6 2, DK T, CA 8 6 4. It looked like Jonathan had 0 or 1 HCP, and I did't want to give away my trump trick, so I continued diamonds. The king held, and declarer cashed the top two spades, crossed to the CA and ran the HT. Coming in with my queen, I cashed the DQ, and then realised that I was in danger of being endplayed with a trump if the remaining cards were like this (with the bracketed cards either way round)

...so I cashed my SQ. I still had to make a decision—if declarer had a heart left I needed to cash the HA to avoid being endplayed, but if he didn't the HA would get ruffed, setting up the king, and a diamond would endplay me. So I tried the diamond, but it got ruffed. Declarer duly led a heart, and my only chance was to win and lead a club, hoping Jonathan had the jack. I was shocked to see Jonathan win with the CK and return the CJ to take the contract two off. The actual hands were:

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

West


1NT
2NT

North
Toby
pass
dbl
dbl

East

pass
pass
all pass

South
Teymur
1S
2S

Not only had declarer opened with 8 points, but at the other table Teymur found the same opening bid! Toby doubled the 1NT overcall and Teymur thought he had better run. They then had a Groundhog Day auction finishing in 2NT doubled.

Toby led the ST to set up his partner's suit, and Teymur correctly played low to preserve the entry. Declarer decided not to look for an entry to dummy, but played DA and another. Toby returned a spade, and Teymur ran the suit. Declarer unwisely pitched a heart from both hands, thus losing his second heart guard. Teymur switched to a heart to the ace, and declarer could have cashed two diamonds for –800, but he tried to set up clubs, allowing Toby in to take the hearts for the magic score of –1100. A 1300 (16 IMP) swing!