BRIDGE

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The Independent Culture
When you bid a vulnerable game that you cannot make, and your opponents "save" in the wrong spot at a cost of 800 points instead of bidding and making their own vulnerable game, you expect to gain points, do you not?

This deal from a game played at the Generali European Championships earlier this year illustrates that in bridge as elsewhere, it does not pay to count your chickens before they are hatched.

The bidding in the match between Great Britain and Poland was the same at both tables. West opened One Spade, North doubled, and East then raised pre- emptively to Four Spades. So far, so good, but now each of the Souths tried Five Hearts and were doubled. It is perfectly true that North's double of One Spade virtually promises support for the other major and there would have been a case for trying hearts if East had raised to only Three Spades, but the lurch to the five level looks like a sacrifice, and the longer suit would have proved (miraculously) very much better.

The British defenders duly collected their 800 points but - oh dear! - at the other table the declarer took every wrong view in every suit, and ended ignominiously six down to concede a penalty of 1,700 points. Ah well. These things happen.

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