Join Bridge Winners
A Riddle

I played this deal in an ACBL imps speedball on BBO:

North
1085
K
KQ9753
1075
Kriegel
AK
972
108642
AQ6
W
N
E
S
P
3
P
3NT
P
P
P

Partner opened 3 in second seat, and I tried 3NT. West led the Q and I braced myself to go down. A lot. Happily, the K held, so I thought I might get out for down one after knocking out the A. At trick two, I led the K to East's ace (West discarded a heart), and hereturned—drum roll please—aspade. I won and cashed out for +400. I didn't think much about the non-heart return (people make all kinds of ridiculous plays on BBO), but the full deal was a bit surprising:

West
J743
AQJ108653
3
North
1085
K
KQ9753
1075
East
Q962
4
AJ
KJ9842
Kriegel
AK
972
108642
AQ6
W
N
E
S
P
3
P
3NT
P
P
P
D
3NT South
NS: 0 EW: 0

Wait,eight hearts? I hadn't considered the possibilitythat East might not have a heart to return. The bidding isn't usually that bizarre. I consulted the traveller and saw about what you would expect: a lot of people in hearts, some making 4, some going down, and some in higher contracts. (We were the only North-South pair to declare.) However, one other result caught my eye: at one table, East declared 3NT on the auction

W
N
E
S
3
P
3NT
P
P
P

and after misguessing hearts took only four tricks for -250.

There is a nice bit of symmetry between that table's result and mine, so here's my riddle: what is that symmetry? I'll reveal the answer in a couple of days, but I expect some people to get it before then.

Postscript: Many on Bridge Winners like to malign the robots, often for good reasons, but can you imagine robots conducting these auctions? I sure can't—bidding like that is the exclusive province of humans.

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