North-South vulnerable. East deals.


x10 4

uA K Q 4 3

vA J 2

w9 8 3


x9 8 6 xK

uVoid u10 9 8 6 5 2

vK 10 9 5 3 vQ 8 7 6 4

wQ 10 7 4 2 wK


xA Q J 7 5 3 2

uJ 7


wA J 6 5

The bidding:


3u 4x Pass 5u

Pass 5x Pass Pass


Opening lead: Four of w

There is a tendency among duplicate players, when the vulnerability is favorable, for ever-lighter opening pre-empts. That can lead to some strange results, as this deal from a team match illustrates.

To pre-empt at the three- level on a poor six-card suit with all the high cards in side suits is bizarre, to say the least. We would not dream of any action other than pass with the East hand. South felt that his holding merited more than just three spades, which might sound to partner as merely a competitive effort, so he jumped to game in his suit. North cannot be faulted for moving toward slam, but South was not interested.

West led a club, and declarer captured East’s king with the ace. The bidding and opening lead made it clear that West was void in hearts, so declarer was not tempted to try to get to dummy for the spade finesse. Instead, declarer laid down the ace of spades, and great was the fall thereon. Trumps were drawn, three clubs were discarded on the ace of diamonds and two good hearts, and declarer took all the tricks.

At the other table East saw no good reason to open the bidding, and North-South ended in a quiet four-spade contract. Again the lead was a club to the king and ace. Declarer, mesmerized by the lure of an overtrick or two, tried to cross to dummy with a heart to take the trump finesse. West ruffed, cashed the queen of clubs and gave partner a club ruff, then ruffed another heart for down one.

Five spades making seven at one table, four spades down one at the other. Truly, bridge is a wonderful game!

2013 Tribune Media Services

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