Independent Pursuits: Bridge

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The Independent Culture
I SUPPOSE that, if I wanted to set a totally impossible problem in a bidding quiz, I would ask entrants to guess the auction that led North-South to a contract of 3 No-trumps doubled on this deal. As a spectator in the World Senior Teams event in Lille, I enjoyed the hand far more than did East-West. Give up? This is how it went.

East South West North

pass 12 (a) pass 1# (b)

pass pass (c) 14 22

24 2NT pass 32

3! pass 34 pass

pass 3NT double All pass

(a) This was a variant of the Polish Club system - it might have been a weak no-trump or a variety of much stronger hands.

(b) Negative - fewer than eight points.

(c) To quote SJ Simon: "Lunatic or genius?"

West's protection and his partner's raise were routine enough; North- South would surely have come to rest in Three Clubs but now it was East's turn to reopen. As he said afterwards, it seemed inconceivable that this would push his opponents to 3 No-trumps.

It strikes me that West's conversion of Three Hearts to Three Spades was misguided - surely his partner held a six-card suit for his bid? - and so far they had escaped a double.

South's final bid of 3 No-trumps was a real flyer but dummy proved to have just the right cards. West doubled in rage and, as the play went after a spade lead, declarer did not even bother to take the heart finesse that would have given him a doubled overtrick.

We regret that a book was described incorrectly on 28 September. The book is: `Mendelson's Guide to the Bidding Battle' by Paul Mendelson (Colt Books, pounds 8.95)

North-South game; dealer East


4Q 9 3


#Q J 9

2J 10 7 6 5 4

West East

4A 10 7 6 2 4J 8 5

!4 3 !Q 10 8 7 6 2

#7 6 2 #A 3

2K Q 8 29 2


4K 4

!A K J 5

#K 10 8 5 4

2A 3