Observer-Reporter – 4 May 1976

Both vulnerable. South deals

Opening lead: Ace of hearts

Dennis Spooner
Dennis Spooner

Dennis Spooner is one of Britain’s top TV script writers, who has written for such shows as «The Avengers» and «Department S.” He is also a bridge nut, who doesn’t miss the chance to work his passion into his business. In one of his scripts, the two murderers were named Belladonna and Garozzo; in another he had a character named Stayman, who owned two clubs. At a recent tournament, he stated on his convention card that the system he played was ‘A Load Of Rubbish’ Acol; lower minor (second in hand) over pre-empts; Optional doubles (fourth in hand); Astro; Drury; Opening two-bids strong; Responsive doubles; Unusual no trump: Baron over two no trump; Blackwood; Inverted minor raises; Stayman; Herbert negatives.

Spooner also writes bridge articles for an English magazine, and he calls them «Diary of a Palooka.» This and his impish sense of humor cause many of his opponents to regard him lightly, but he is quite a skillful player.

He held the East hand on this deal, and came up with a brilliant defense. West led the ace of hearts and continued the suit for East to ruff. The ace of clubs would complete the defensive book, and the only hope for the setting trick lay in scoring the trump king. Therefore, the problem was to keep declarer out of
dummy. Since West had bid clubs freely, Spooner decided that it was quite likely that he held four cards in the suit.

And since South had never supported his partner’s hearts, it seemed that West held six hearts. Therefore, South’s distribution appeared to be 5-2-5-1. Working on this premise, East cashed the ace of clubs and exited with the queen of diamonds! Declarer was helpless. If he tried to cross to dummy in diamonds, West would ruff, so the defenders king of spades could not be shut out. Note that if East had shifted to a low diamond, declarer could have made the contract by running the trick to dummy’s jack and taking the trump finesse.