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Just a Coincidence
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When you think about deals, hands, auctions and the play, a typical day of bridge offers hundreds if not thousands of data. So the potential for coincidences abounds. Still, some days can be different. 

It began with the first match of a Regional bracketed KO, when we noticed the AKQ were in the same hand on each of the first 3 boards. For a specific suit ( here) this happens on about 5% of all hands, but the odds of 3 hands in a row is more like 1 in 8,000. The streak was broken on board 4, but on board 5 the AKQ were together once again!

Shortly thereafter we bid a slam that had the interesting coincidence of opposing singleton Aces. And just a few hands later we were again in the slam zone, this time each holding (the less much less likely) doubleton AK's. 

Waiting for the evening matches to begin, my partner and I were commiserating over our each having an old and ailing cat, each with similar symptoms and seemingly nearing their end. The conversation was brightened when another player joined us to talk bridge. But that lasted just moments, when he received a call about his ailing dog. 

By this point, board 1 seemed completely normal when, after the auction (1)-1-(1)-4, dummy produced an exact mirror of my hand. But the strangest board was yet to come. Following a routine 1NT-3NT by the opponents, imagine you are on lead with 1043 962 A5 QJ987. You naturally lead the Q and are heartened to see partner win with the A and return the 10, declarer ducking.

Before turning the page, after overtaking with the J, what do you think was the key factor in defeating the NT game? [Hint: if you weren't at the table, you'll never guess.]

No, it wasn't whether or not declarer had 8 tricks to run in the majors. It was how quickly you played to trick 3!

There seemed nothing to the hand, so after just 1-2 seconds, I continued with the 7. Fortunately I didn't take any longer, because my partner--not noticing the T2 overtake--was starting to lead out of turn! The expected result of 1 down was recorded and everyone expected a push board. 

You can imagine the pleasant surprise when comparing with our teammates: "plus 100", "plus 600", "win 12!". How did our teammates make this contract? After the same cards played to tricks 1 and 2, the player with A10x led out of turn! 

But it was just a coincidence. 

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