Pursuits: Bridge

THE WORLD Mixed Pairs in Lille saw most of the top players in action - sometimes in slightly unfamiliar partnerships. On this deal, as West, I had a curious bidding problem when we were opposed by Gabriel Chagas of Brazil and China's Sun Ming - a rising star. Chagas, as North, opened Four Diamonds and his partner responded Four Hearts.

I decided to double. Perhaps not surprisingly, this was a bidding sequence that we had not discussed beforehand, but I reflected that I did not mind which of three possible interpretations partner might place on my bid: (1) penalties (2) take-out or (3) the ubiquitous "cards".

It came as something of a surprise when this double ended the auction. Subsequently it appeared that our opponents had not clarified the meaning of this sequence either - Chagas was playing transfer pre-empts at the Three level only, while Sun Ming assumed that they were playing them at both the Three and the Four levels.

The precise sequence of play, after I had started with the ace of spades, proved to be uninteresting, but we came a great deal nearer to making Four Hearts than did our opposition, and we collected 1,400 points for what proved to be a complete top in a huge field.

Our luck did not last - whenever we met one of the presumed weaker pairs, they seemed to do the right things with unfailing regularity. Still, we qualified for the final...

Love all; dealer North



!J 8 6 4

#K Q 9 8 7 4 3


West East

4A 10 9 3 4K J 4

!A K 10 3 !7 5 2

#10 #A 5

2Q 8 5 3 2J 10 7 6 4


4Q 7 6 5 2

!Q 9

#J 6 2

2A K 9