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Both vulnerable. South deals.



Published: Tue, June 21, 2005 @ 12:00 a.m.



Both vulnerable. South deals.

NORTH

x -A Q 9 8 5 2

u -A 10

v -8 4

w -K 4 3

WESTEAST

x -K 10 6 3 x -4

u -Q 9 2 u -4 3

v -Q 2 v -A K J 9 7 6 5 3

w -A 10 7 6 w -Q 5

SOUTH

x -J 7

u -K J 8 7 6 5

v -10

w -J 9 8 2

The bidding:

SOUTH WEST NORTH EAST

Pass Pass 1x 4v

4u Dbl Pass Pass

Pass

Opening lead: Queen of v

It was the night of the club's annual rubber bridge tournament. In the finals, Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson were opposed by Sherlock's brother, Mycroft, on a rare visit to London from his home in the Midlands, partnered by one of the better club members. The brothers clashed in the final and, when the last deal came along, Sherlock and Watson were trailing by 400 points.

Against Sherlock's four hearts doubled Mycroft led the queen of diamonds. His partner overtook with king and returned the 9, showing a possible re-entry in clubs. Holmes ruffed and, without a moment's hesitation, led the jack of spades. Had Mycroft followed low, Sherlock would have taken the finesse, cashed the ace and king of hearts and then repeated the spade finesse. After cashing the ace of spades for a club discard, he would have ruffed a spade to set up a long card in the suit and led a club. No matter how the defense proceeded, the great detective would have lost only one trick in each suit except spades.

"I must say, Holmes," sputtered Dr. Watson, "you embarked on an extraordinary line of play. Why didn't you take the trump finesse at trick two?"

"Elementary, my dear Watson," replied Holmes, a slight smile playing on his lips. "Note that I could not have doubled four diamonds -- that would have been defeated only one trick. Also, Mycroft's double did not denote any certainty that four hearts could be defeated, but rather that five diamonds would have been a losing venture and he did not want partner to bid on.

& copy;2005 Tribune Media Services

Copyright 2005 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.




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