THE NEA BRIDGE by Phillip Alder

George Bernard Shaw said, “My way of joking is to tell the truth. It’s the funniest joke in the world.”
During the year, I must teach about 200 classes. There are some funny things that happen, but most of the time you had to be there. However, this was the funniest reportable deal of this year — and what comes is the unedited truth.
First, though, how should South play in seven hearts after West leads the club king?
I had anticipated South’s using Blackwood twice, learning that partner had one ace and no king, and settling for six hearts or six no-trump. Bidding the grand slam was a gamble.
One actual auction is given, North not holding any prisoners with her leap to five diamonds. Then South, unable to use Blackwood, jumped majestically to seven hearts.
In seven hearts, South has one club loser and only 12 winners. But declarer can eliminate his club loser and get a 13th winner with a two-step process.
After winning the first trick, he cashes dummy’s diamond ace and his three top spades, discarding dummy’s remaining club, ruffs his club seven on the board, and claims the rest of the tricks with his eight high trumps.
It was lucky that West didn’t lead a trump.
What was so funny? At one table, South opened one heart. This was passed out. Then South said to me, “I think I’ll make it!”

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