So reasoned Zia Mahmood (partnered by Andrew Robson) in the recent Macallan Invitation Pairs when he decided to open the South hand with 1NT. There were some obvious defects to his choice, one of which became painfully apparent when West doubled, North and East passed, and (sticking to his guns) so did Zia. This did not prove to be a success for West started by cashing six diamonds and 2A before switching to a heart. Now East, who had thoughtfully discarded only black cards, claimed the rest of the tricks.
The result, which you can verify with a pocket calculator, was the astonishing penalty of 2,000 points. Zia's benefactors were the eventual winners, Helgemo and Helness, but they would still have been home in comfort without this windfall. It also explains why Zia is now known as the "Millennium Man".Reuse content