Groucho Marx said, “I’m leaving because the weather is too good. I hate London when it’s not raining.” Well, what is the average annual rainfall in London?

It is easy to be complacent at the bridge table, assuming everything will be sunny. This deal would trip up the less cautious. How should South play in three notrump after West leads his fourth-highest diamond and East puts up the 10?

North’s two-club rebid indicated at least a six-card suit with some 12-14 points. South, with game-going values, jumped to the logical final contract. (Note that five clubs can be defeated if East leads a diamond.)

Declarer begins with eight top tricks: two spades, two hearts, one diamond (trick one) and three clubs. And surely those lovely clubs would produce six winners and two overtricks.

The original South won with his diamond jack, cashed the club queen, and led his other club. West’s discard brought the play to a grinding halt. The long pause didn’t help; declarer was doomed.

South should realize that if East gets on lead and pushes a diamond through, the contract is in jeopardy. To stop that from happening, declarer should execute what is called an avoidance play. He crosses to the dummy (say, with a heart) and plays a club to his 10. Here, it wins and South takes 11 tricks after all. But even if West can produce the club jack, the contract is safe.

London averages 23.4 inches per annum. That compares with, say, 36.2 inches for Seattle, 46.2 inches for New York City, and 61.9 inches for Miami.

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