Both vulnerable. East deals.


xK 9 8 2

uK 7 6


wQ 8 7 5 4


xA 10 6 xQ

uQ 10 8 uJ 9 4

vK J 3 vQ 10 8 7 5

wJ 9 6 3 wA K 10 2


xJ 7 5 4 3

uA 5 3 2

vA 9 6 4


The bidding:


1v Pass 1NT Pass

2w 2x 2NT 3x

Pass Pass Dbl Pass

Pass Pass

Opening lead: Three of w

In rubber bridge, if you go down in a contract you lose coin of the realm. In duplicate pairs, a minus score easily could be top on the board. Consider this deal from an upstate New York tournament.

North-South stole the hand in the auction. Once South could enter the bidding, even going down two doubled in a spade contract would be an excellent result since East-West are cold for three no trump, scoring at least 600 points instead of getting a 500-point penalty.

West’s drastic underbid of one no trump was the root of the debacle. The good intermediates and fit for partner’s suit are easily worth a point or two, making even a forcing jump to two notrump a standout. If West is averse to jumping in notrump with only 11 points, an acceptable alternative is one heart on the three-card fragment. Either action would have kept South from entering the auction. As the bidding progressed, it was clear to South that North held length in spades and some values, so entering the auction with two spades ran virtually no risk.

It worked out better than South ever expected. West led a club against three spades doubled, ruffed in the closed hand. The ace and king of hearts were cashed, and another club was ruffed. After cashing the ace of diamonds and ruffing another diamond in dummy, declarer trumped a third club in hand and another diamond on the table.

A fourth club ruff provided the entry for declarer to lead another diamond. When West ruffed with the ace, declarer had 11 tricks and a result of which he could be proud.

2013 Tribune Media Services

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