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Victor Mollo, who was born in Russia but lived most of his life in London, wrote many stories about bridge-playing fauna. Mollo died in 1987, but some years later, a cache of unpublished articles was found, enough for four books. The final collection, “Last Call in the Menagerie” (Master Point Press), appeared earlier this year.

All of these books feature unusual deals with some instructive elements and humorous narrative. The main character is the acerbic Hideous Hog, who knows how to get the best out of his partners and worst out of his opponents. In this deal, the Hog sat North, and his partner was the Rueful Rabbit, a very weak player who was born under a lucky star.

In this rubber-bridge deal, the Rabbit ended in five hearts. How did he plan the play after West led the spade king?

The Hog had carefully hidden his spade ace between the four and five. He was worried that East would be void in spades and did not want the Rabbit to waste the ace. So, West took the first trick and continued with the spade queen. Then, as the Rabbit pulled the four intot the middle of the table, the ace jutted out.

The Rabbit ruffed, cashed his heart ace, played a heart to the queen, discarded a club on the spade ace, ruffed the third round of clubs in his hand, returned to the dummy with a trump, and discarded a diamond on the club eight – the only way to make the contract.

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