The meaning of an opening bid of Three No-trumps has changed dramatically over the years. Originally, in Clubertson days, it showed a balanced 26- 27 points (but who holds a hand like that?), then it became a solid seven- card minor suit with at least two other suits guarded and then, finally, the solid seven-card minor with very little outside.

The drawback of the last idea is that often, although Three No-trumps would have been the best contract, the wrong hand became declarer with perhaps K,x in dummy facing x,x in declarer's hand. Is there a case for making an opening bid of Three Clubs (always a blunt weapon as a pre-emptive bid) to show either solid minor and so allow partner to become declarer in a possible Three No-trumps?

On the deal above, North opened Three No-trumps and South, closing his eyes, raised to Six No-trumps. East, on lead and seeing no reason to be satisfied with +50 points instead of +100, doubled and South (appreciating that all was not well) shrewdly transferred the lead problem to West by bidding Seven Clubs. With considerably less confidence, East doubled again.

There would have been no story if West had led a heart, but he chose a spade and South duly made his unlikely grand slam.

East's first double was extremely foolish. Standing to gain perhaps only an extra 50 points, he ended by losing 1,680 more than he need have done.

Love all; dealer North


410 4

!J 6 3


2A K Q J 10 6 3

West East

48 7 6 3 2 49

!9 7 4 !A K 10 5

#Q 10 6 2 #J 9 8 5

25 29 8 7 4


4A K Q J 5

!Q 8 2

#A K 7 3