Last Saturday’s column featured a deal in which John Collings made seven hearts doubled with a trump suit of A-J-9-8-6-4-3-2 opposite a void! (Three times, he led a winner from the dummy, righty ruffed low, and Collings overruffed. Then the heart ace dropped the queen and king.)

Today’s crazy contract was declared by another good friend, Dennis Spooner. He started as a professional soccer player, but became much more famous as a great scriptwriter for television dramas like “The Avengers,” “Jason King” and “Hart to Hart.” These always included a bridge reference. Spooner died far too young at the age of 54 in 1986.

This deal was described in one of his Diary of a Palooka bridge articles. Look at the South hand. West deals and opens three clubs, your partner overcalls three spades, and East doubles for penalty. What would you do?

Probably you would pass and be pleasantly surprised when the contract made.

Spooner, who was playing with North for the first time and had noticed that she wore rose-tinted glasses, ran to four diamonds!

Oh, no — North started thinking ... then raised to seven diamonds!

After East doubled, and West led spade queen, North tabled her hand, saying, “I must have the right cards for you.” As you can see, she did. Spooner ruffed the spade lead, drew trumps with the aid of the winning finesse, and established dummy’s spade suit.

East was unwise to double three spades. If he had passed, probably that would have been the final contract. But I don’t suppose he anticipated his opponents’ bidding and making a grand slam when he held two aces!

— Phillip Alder, NEA Bridge

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