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Bridge 10/20
The monks who play monastery bridge
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    Englishman David Bird has been writing humorous articles about the monks of St. Titus since 1978. He has just published his ninth book of these stories, "Heavenly Contracts" (Weidenfeld & Nicolson).
    An American monk, Brother Mitchell, visits the monastery on a research project. He is persuaded to compete in a duplicate with Brother Zac, not one of the strongest players. When they win easily, the Abbot insists on partnering Brother Mitchell at the next duplicate. They do much less well, but score a top on this board.
    Brother Mitchell opened five diamonds, hoping to silence the major suits. This was passed to Brother Zac, East, who made the dubious decision to double. (Five hearts looks normal.)
    Brother Fabius, West, would have beaten the contract with a major-suit lead, but he understandably selected his club king.
    Declarer won with his club ace, drew trumps in one round, and played a low spade to dummy's king. East defended well by ducking. He saw that if he won with his ace, he would have to give up a trick with his return.
    The implications of this were not wasted on Brother Mitchell. Clearly East had started with a singleton club.
"Queen of spades, please," said declarer. East played his ace, and South discarded a club. East saw that if he led the spade jack, declarer would ruff, cross to dummy with a trump, and pitch a loser on the spade 10. Instead, East returned a low spade, but declarer threw another club and made his contract for plus 750.
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