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From David Schokman

Bridge is just a fantastic game and a real leveller. Sometimes every decision that you make turns out to be perfect. Then there are the "Curate Egg" days which are good and bad in patches, and finally there is Murphy's Law, which is "Anything that can go wrong, will go wrong". Playing at the Nedlands club, in the Ranjit Gauba pairs, it just happened to be one of those Murphy days but there was only one person to blame, and that was me.

It started in the first round with a phantom sacrifice in 4S, over a non-making 4H. Minus 13 imps which sent us down to table 16, exactly where we finished after round seven. Clawing our way back in round 5, a terrible bid cost us 1100 points and made my partner particularly unhappy. And then we drew Jane Reynolds and Viv Wood, a top pair whom I would have been happy to avoid! But let's go to the minus 1100.

North Deals
None Vul
10 6
7 6 5 2
10 8 5
8 7 6 5
Q 9 4 3
K J 7 3
A Q 10 4
A 5 2
A K 9 8
Q 9 4 2
9 2
K J 8 7
Q 10 4 3
A 6
K J 3

Playing ACOL my RHO opponent opened with a bid of 1NT (12-14 points). I had a sound 14 points, sitting over the opening bidder so decided that there was no real danger in bidding and joined the party, choosing 2D which showed both majors. What was wrong? Firstly the vulnerability, then the texture of the suits, all broken. If the diamond ace and club king were major suit cards, and at least one of them a five suiter, there would have been every justification to make this bid. The third and worst error was dropping my guard and thinking that the nice lady sitting on my left would not punish me for my folly. My partner bid a very reluctant 2H which was passed around to my LHO, who doubled; east was delighted to pass. It was carnage on the lead of the club nine and would probably have been 1400 if the diamond was led instead. Bridge is a competitive game and if you are silent most of the time you are unlikely to be a regular winner. The lesson in this is not my stupidity (which is a Gold Medal winner) but that you think carefully before making bids on hands like this as the risk is far too great. Was I unlucky? Certainly so, but I also showed a lack of bridge judgement and a great disrespect for my opponents. The punishment fitted the crime and was well deserved.

In another match my partner opened with a bid of 1D. My hand was A102, AJ, 1085, AQ1097, and planning to bid 2C I noticed that our vulnerable opponents (we were not) had bid 2D, showing the major suits.

North Deals
E-W Vul
K Q 5 2
A K 6 3 2
J 8
4 3
Q J 9 7
K 6 5 4 3 2
Q 9 8 6 5 4 3
10 9 8 7 6
A 10 2
10 8 5
A Q 10 9 7

A double by me showed values and a desire to punish them, almost certainly controlling one of the major suits. My LHO bid 2H, which was doubled by my partner, and there was little justification to do anything after that. You will tell me that we can make 6NT, but it is most unlikely that many people would have made that 2D bid with this holding: Q986543. 109876, 4. Void. Seven out of the 32 pairs bid to 6NT. 21 were in 3NT. Three pairs were doubled in 2H; 3H and 4S. Everyone got off lightly.

We only picked up 500 in 2H doubled but we erred in not playing trumps. It was west who bid the hearts and after the lead of the diamond king surely there should have been a shift to a low trump. This would have seen them making about three or four tricks only, rather than the six that they did.

One pair bid to 6D and were really quite unlucky.

It is obvious that people have different styles and that bid of 2D, over 1D, could have been a master stroke of bidding - but, bridge is a game of discipline and percentages, and I have to give the thumbs down to both bids of 2D.


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