Games: Bridge

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Over the past week or so I have described a number of good things that were done in the Macallan International Pairs, so I suppose that I ought to redress the balance by giving a bad one. Tactfully, I shall preserve the anonymity of the players.

After two passes, East opened One Club and South found a vulnerable overcall of One Spade (!). West bid One No-trump and North made an unassuming cue- bid of Two Clubs (agreeing spades and showing the high-card values for a raise to at least the Two level). East bid Three Clubs and a relieved South was able to pass, as did West. North now launched into Four Diamonds - a splinter bid, showing diamond shortage - and East doubled. Again South was able to pass, but North was not finished yet (remember his initial pass) and he made another cue bid, Four Hearts. Now South was compelled to bid Four Spades and West's double (a dubious move) ended the auction.

West led 2Q against Four Spades doubled and, after winning with dummy's ace, I think that most, if not all, of my first-year students would have led #Q, preparing for a cross-ruff. This seems to lead to an easy 10 tricks, for what else could West have for his bidding but a hand that included 4K,J,6,5?

Declarer's actual play of ducking a heart all round at trick two baffled both the audience and the commentators, and when he later cashed 4A ... well, all I can say is that he managed the rest of the play well enough to escape for one down. But, with the Butler scoring method in force, this proved a very costly outing.

North-South game; dealer West


4Q 9 3 2

!A 9 8 6 2


2A 9 5

West East

4K J 6 5 4none

!J 7 !Q 10 4

#10 6 4 2 #A K J 5

2Q J 2 2K 10 8 7 6 4


4A 10 8 7 4

!K 5 3

#9 8 7 3