Game all; dealer South


4 K

! K J 10 9 7 6 3

pounds Q 10 4

2 Q 5

West East

4 Q 10 9 5 3 4 8 7 6 4

! 4 ! 2

pounds A 8 6 5 pounds K 9 7

2 J 4 2 2 9 8 7 6 3


4 A J 2

! A Q 8 5

pounds J 3 2

2 A K 10

Comparison of notes with Desmond Deery, the celebrated Irish ex-international, after we had both held the South cards in a recent pairs competition, led him to remark that on this hand he had made a poor bid and yet appeared to achieve a top, only to find that he had been outscored elsewhere. At Desmond's table, playing five-card majors, he had opened One Club. West overcalled with One Spade, North bid Two Hearts, and East contested with Two Spades. Now the auction gained momentum - South bid Four Hearts, West Four Spades (!), North Five Hearts and East Five Spades (!).

Feeling that a further advance was sure to meet a sacrifice, Desmond tried Six Hearts rather than taking the sure penalty by doubling. He kicked himself when everybody passed, but there was a happy ending when East led an unimaginative Spade and the slam rolled in.

You think that East-West were aggressive at his table? Against me, after the same opening bid of One Club, West was again in the act with that revolting overcall of One Spade. My partner chose Four Hearts rather than Two and, after a sedate pass by East, I was left with a problem. Perhaps over-optimistically playing partner for an eight-card suit and some other useful feature, I raised to Six Hearts.

Possibly feeling he had been too conservative earlier, East now decided to "sacrifice" in Six Spades. I knew what to do about that, and the resulting penalty was 1400 points, beating Desmond's hard-earned 980. East-West are still discussing the problem.