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What is the probability of a player being dealt a 13-card suit? Let us not worry about the exact figure but appreciate the fact that we will not encounter it in our lives. I have not held a nine-card suit yet! A hand with two voids, void in the same suit in the opposing hands, a 37- point hand are some more in this line of one in a trillion deals that never seem to occur.

I think I should be more careful. R. Anand from Chennai reports below of a deal that was actually dealt while he was playing with his friends recently during a weekend get-together.

Anand writes: “I spoke to you yesterday regarding the above freak deal. The full deal and the details were reconstructed immediately after it was played, by T.S. Balaraman, S. Ganesh, R. Raghavan, V.M. Sivasubramanian, V.K. Raman and me. We play regularly on Saturdays and Sundays in a small group. The entire 40-points in the deck between the EW hands got all of us excited and we celebrated it with cocktail and dinner. But the icing on the cake will be if it is shown to the readers of The Hindu.

Bidding analysis: With only ‘quacks' to boast of, and not a single trick in hand, east should not open the bidding. It is difficult, however, to guess how EW can reach the grand slam should east elect to pass his hand, for west would not know his partner's strength. West might even consider opening with a bid of 3NT, thereby missing even the little slam.

How the bidding went: In actual play, east opened a practical 1C and west made an even more practical bid by jumping to 7NT. Modern players though, would have preferred a more scientific sequence! Any suggestions?

Discussion: I'm sure you wouldn't have seen anything like this before in your life. Neither have I. The curious thing about the deal is that E-W has all the 40 high-card points between them. You may say North was magnanimous in dealing all the high-card in the deck to EW! What is the probability of such an occurrence? May be one in a trillion!”

A rarest of rare deals indeed! The players had every reason to celebrate after what happened. My request to them is not to stop but go on celebrating!

We are grateful to the players for sharing the one in a trillion deal with the readers of The Hindu.

E-mail: ls4bridge@gmail.com

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