Sunday 26 May 1996
South opened One Heart and North responded One Spade. East, reasonably enough, joined in with Two Clubs. In the old days South could have doubled for penalties but, in the modern style, a double by South now would have been a "support double", showing precisely three cards in his partner's suit. So South passed, awaiting developments. They came at one table when North re-opened with a double, showing extra values, and South was happy to pass for penalties.
South led the ten of spades to his partner's ace and, instead of collecting an immediate ruff, a heart came back. Three rounds of hearts saw North ruffing, then came a spade ruff and a diamond to the ace. South still had two trump tricks to come and declarer ended with only five tricks, conceding a penalty of 500 points.
You may ask, why was this a hard-luck story? At the other table, after a similar start, North bid Two Diamonds instead of doubling on the second round. With no penalty any longer in sight South tried Two No-trumps and, with little excuse, North raised to game. Nothing could be done against this 23-point game and ten tricks rolled in for a score of 630 points.
NORTH-SOUTH GAME: Dealer South
] A J 8 7 3
_ 3 2
+ A J 9 4
[ 6 3
] Q 9 6 4 ] K 5 2
_ 10 9 7 _ K J 4
+ 10 8 7 6 5 + Q
[ 4 [ A Q 10 9 8 7
_ A Q 8 6 5
+ K 3 2
[ K J 5 2
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