Despite the many new subjects the atomic age has added to the programs of our great engineering schools, I know of none offering a course in the engineering of hoaxes.

It is unlikely that I can remedy this lack in the space of one short article, but I can at least assert a first principle: the essential ingredient is speed. The field does not offer a career to anyone addicted to late sleeping, for an early start is obligatory if the victim is to be caught flat-footed.

It is by no means a rare experience to be confronted with a contract that simply cannot be fulfilled unless at least one opponent can be fooled. The type of deception herein commended is not to be confused with the tactics known as "coffeehousing," to which we have made some reference in the past. It simply depends upon trapping your victim before he is aware of the nature of his danger. For example:

Both sides vulnerable North dealer

NORTH

[Ace of Spades]
[8 of Spades]
[5 of Spades]
[3 of Spades]
[2 of Spades]
[King of Hearts]
[9 of Hearts]
[5 of Hearts]
[Ace of Clubs]
[10 of Clubs]
[6 of Clubs]
[Jack of Diamonds]
[4 of Diamonds]

WEST

[Queen of Spades]
[10 of Spades]
[7 of Spades]
[Queen of Hearts]
[8 of Clubs]
[4 of Clubs]
[3 of Clubs]
[10 of Diamonds]
[9 of Diamonds]
[8 of Diamonds]
[7 of Diamonds]
[5 of Diamonds]
[2 of Diamonds]

SOUTH

[9 of Spades]
[6 of Spades]
[4 of Spades]
[Ace of Hearts]
[Jack of Hearts]
[10 of Hearts]
[8 of Hearts]
[7 of Hearts]
[4 of Hearts]
[3 of Hearts]
[2 of Hearts]
[King of Clubs]
[9 of Clubs]

EAST

[King of Spades]
[Jack of Spades]
[6 of Hearts]
[Queen of Clubs]
[Jack of Clubs]
[7 of Clubs]
[5 of Clubs]
[2 of Clubs]
[Ace of Diamonds]
[King of Diamonds]
[Queen of Diamonds]
[6 of Diamonds]
[3 of Diamonds]

NORTH

1 [Spade]
3 [Heart]
PASS

EAST

2 [Diamond]
PASS
PASS

SOUTH

2 [Heart]
6 [Heart]

WEST

PASS
PASS

Opening lead: diamond 10

There was not much artistry in the bidding. The North hand is not easy to rebid and, as a consequence, many players would be reluctant to open. North's raise to three hearts is also somewhat doubtful, even though in support of South's free bid. In cases of this kind, we usually prefer to rebid a nonrebiddable suit rather than offer partner undue encouragement by raising the level of the contract. South's subsequent leap to six hearts was based somewhat on the expectation of finding a reasonably good spade suit in partner's hand.

The opening diamond lead was ruffed by declarer. Apparently two spade tricks would have to be lost. Against perfect defense, South could make his contract only if one defender held the king and queen of spades unguarded. To this hope declarer added the chance of making contract against an adversary with the king and any smaller spade. He gave the defense an opportunity for a slip by immediately leading a spade to dummy's ace.

This play was made before East was aware of the danger that lurked in his possession of the king. No doubt he should have unloaded that dangerous card even at this early point, but his failure to do so at trick two is perhaps barely pardonable.

After cashing the ace of spades, declarer ruffed dummy's remaining diamond and then played one round of trumps. Fortunately, each opponent had to follow suit else East might have had one more opportunity to get rid of his danger card. South then cashed his king of clubs, crossed to dummy's club ace and trumped the last club. A spade play now imposed upon East the doubtful pleasure of leading. Whether East chose to lead a diamond or a club, declarer could ruff in dummy while discarding the losing spade from his hand.

It is reasonable to assume that if declarer had gone about the business of stripping the hand before leading the ace of spades, East would have had time to collect his wits. Suspecting the trap, he would no doubt have unloaded the king of spades on dummy's ace. In the rehash of the incident, East contended that to drop the king of spades at trick two would have required clairvoyance. We discreetly abstained from comment.

EXTRA TRICK
However, the time for discretion has passed. East was a late sleeper, deaf to the clangor of what should have been a signal alarm. The very fact that declarer led a spade, without drawing a single round of trumps, should arouse suspicion. Whenever a good player departs from the usual order of play, watch out. He may be a hoax engineer getting ready for the fast one.

PHOTO
HOLE YARDS PAR R1 R2 R3 R4
OUT
HOLE YARDS PAR R1 R2 R3 R4
IN
Eagle (-2)
Birdie (-1)
Bogey (+1)
Double Bogey (+2)