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Great Bridge Disasters by David Burn

It Happened on a Friday Evening

A new series on real-life bridge disasters and the lessons we might (or might not) learn from them

THE CHARACTERISTIC of a disaster, as bid hearts, so there weren’t many unbid West North East South

opposed to a mere mishap, calamity or even suits left. But in these days double has 1t

catastrophe, is that a disaster takes a long ceased to be a logical action. It is a mystic Pass 1´ Dble 2t

while to build up before striking with invocation, calling on the powers of Light to 2™ Dble Pass 3NT

devastating force. Often, though, it isn’t guide partner in the almost impossible task Pass 4® Pass 6t

clear exactly what form the disaster is going of working out what you have and what to Pass Pass Dble All Pass

to take or even to whom it is going to do next. I thought better of passing it,

happen. Consider the fate of East on the especially in view of my own heart length You see what I mean about disasters –

featured deal, which comes from a game at and the fact that East did not have the air of North-South had taken a full five rounds

the Young Chelsea played about seven years a man who was about to put down a shaky of bidding to arrive in one of the more

ago. He held these cards at unfavourable dummy. So I bid 3NT – of course, I didn’t ridiculous contracts seen even at the

vulnerability: have much of a club stop, but no one had Young Chelsea on a Friday evening. That

bid clubs. they were on different wavelengths during

East Sitting South with That was soon to be remedied, because the bidding is not uncommon in casual

´ A K 10 4 the hand below and my partner now did bid them: partnerships such as this, but it occurs to

™ AKJ95 playing with a part- me that the gulf between the game I grew

t 4 ner who had regret- West North East South up playing and the game I play nowadays

® K98 tably absorbed vast 1t is considerable, particularly when it comes

quantities of modern Pass 1´ Dble 2t to competitive auctions. North’s bidding

2™ Dble Pass 3NT by modern standards is not wholly

bidding theory, I South Pass 4® Pass ? exceptionable. One spade is a routine

opened the bid- ´ 86 response to 1t, and a take-out double of

ding with 1t, ™ Q86 I had not the vaguest notion what this 2™ shows roughly this shape: short hearts,

and the auction t AKQ98653 meant, but it did not seem to me that my long clubs, diamond tolerance, not

continued: ® Void partner could have very many hearts. One enough to make a forcing bid of 3®. Of

does not usually remove 3NT out of fright – course, 4® was not especially sound, but

bids above that level are generally cue-bids my own bidding wasn’t exactly a model

West North East South in support of partner, or some other kind of either.

1t try for slam. Since I seemed to have a few

Pass 1´ Dble ? more playing tricks than I might have done HHHHHH

for the sequence to date, I bid 6t, which

I thought I would bid only 2t to see what was doubled on my right. The full deal was: You may recall that I asked you to

developed. Moreover, I wasn’t sure consider East’s fate rather than South’s.

whether North would think 3t was strong Since he had doubled a slam with ace-

or pre-emptive, since I had no idea how E/W Game. ´ QJ95 king, ace-king, king, facing a partner

trendy people play such sequences Dealer South. ™ 10 who had volunteered a bid, you may

nowadays. West bid 2™ and my partner t J 10 wonder why he would need any

doubled it, so the auction was now: ® Q J 10 7 6 5 sympathy, especially in view of the fact

´ 732 ´ A K 10 4 that his partner led yet another ace. But

West North East South ™ 7432 N ™ AKJ95 if you consider the full diagram, the

W E

1t t 72 S t 4 implications of the lead of the ace of

Pass 1´ Dble 2t ® A432 ® K98 clubs may dawn on you. I ruffed, crossed

2™ Dble Pass ? ´ 86 to the ten of diamonds, passed the queen

™ Q86 of clubs, ruffed the king of clubs, crossed

This can’t logically be for take-out – take- t AKQ98653 to the jack of diamonds and claimed one

out into what, after all? We had bid dia- ® Void of the less likely plus 1090s in the history

monds and spades and the opponents had of bridge. r

www.ebu.co.uk February 2013 English Bridge 15

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