The fur usually flies when Ireland and Great Britain play each other, as they do from time to time. Consider this deal from their match during the 1972 World Bridge Olympiad.

The Irish team had done poorly in the early rounds of the tournament, standing 28th among the 39 countries entered in the event. But they finished with a remarkable splurge, winning 13 matches in a row to wind up a respectable 12th in the field.

One of their victims during this run was the strong English team, which bit the dust on the accompanying deal. With a British pair holding the East-West cards, the bidding had gone as shown when suddenly, after they had reached four spades, the Irish South barged into the bidding with five diamonds.

West doubled and led the ace of spades. This was an unfortunate lead indeed - from Britain's standpoint - because declarer now could not be stopped from making the contract.

He ruffed, drew two rounds of trumps and led the nine of hearts toward dummy, placing West in an untenable position. If West went up with the ace of hearts, South would later discard two clubs on the king of spades and king of hearts to limit himself to just one heart loser and one club loser.

And if West elected to duck the nine of hearts, declarer would win with dummy's king, discard the queen of hearts on the king of spades and eventually lose just two club tricks.

Obviously, this was not a bad result for South, who unilaterally bid for 11 tricks on six high-card points and then brought the contract home - all without the use of a shillelagh!