Zia Mahmood

Source: The Guardian,

Rather than the usual bridge hand I have decided to give you a different article, whose content will be useful to you when you are awaiting the arrival of the fourth (someone is invariably late) for an evening’s bridge. Here are three questions you can test those present with. What is the most frequently played contract at bridge? And the rarest? The most common is actually 3NT, but you will be surprised how many good players say 1NT. The rarest, of which I have been unable to find a single instance in the records, is 5NT redoubled.

Your right-hand opponent deals and opens the bidding with seven spades. Your hand is:

♠9 ♥A743 ♦A1082 ♣A865

You double and lead the ace of hearts. Declarer ruffs and cashes 11 more rounds of spades. You have two cards left, the aces of diamonds and clubs. Your partner’s discards have been meaningless. Which ace will you keep? You should hold on to the ace of clubs, because the bidder was more likely to have thought he had 13 spades if he had a black club rather than a red diamond in his hand.

If the missing player has still not arrived, try this one. Which villain held these cards:


and found that he could not defeat a contract of seven clubs redoubled? The answer is not Goldfinger as many believe but Hugo Drax in the novel Moonraker by Ian Fleming – his opponent, who had stacked the deck, was of course James Bond. You can find the full deal online, or of course you can read the book.