Bridge: Sending out the wrong signal

BIDDING boxes are used in all major tournaments. Displaying a card showing your bid obviates both any possible language difficulties, and any suggestion of emphasis or inflection that might be present with a spoken bid.

There are, however, possible drawbacks to this form of bidding.

Love all; dealer South


S Q 10 5 4

H J 9 4 3

D K 7 2

C 5 4


A J 9 2


A Q 10 9 6 3

8 2


8 7 6

Q 10 7 6

J 8 4

Q 10 7


K 3

A K 5 2


A K J 9 6 3

South opened One Club, West overcalled with Two Diamonds, and North and East passed. In an attempt to show the strength of his hand, South jumped to Three Hearts and was, to say the least, puzzled by his partner's jump to Four Spades.

Still, presumably North knew what he was doing, and South was content to pass and pass again when West doubled.

'My lead?' asked West. 'No, your partner's,' replied South. They finally sorted it out.

It appeared that South had mistakenly displayed the Three Spades card, instead of his intended Three Hearts. It was all too late now, and West led his singleton Heart against Four Spades doubled.

Declarer won in hand, and led the king of spades. West took his ace and somewhat belatedly switched to the ace and another diamond.

Dummy's king won, while declarer discarded a heart, the jack of clubs was finessed successfully, and South continued play with a trump to the two, ten and seven.

Then he cashed the queen of spades, discarding another heart from hand, and started to run the clubs. West was helpless - he came to only one more trick with his jack of trumps.

Who said there was no luck in duplicate bridge? Although Three No-trumps was a possible make, the natural contract of Four Hearts would, in any case, have been doomed to failure.