Play­ing on­line for bid­ding fun

The Hamilton Spectator - - GO - BY PHILLIP ALDER

Win­ston Churchill claimed that writ­ing a book is an ad­ven­ture in five stages: from a toy to an amuse­ment to a mis­tress to a mas­ter and, fi­nally, a tyrant.

Luck­ily a bridge col­umn is too short to run that full gamut; how­ever, when play­ing a deal, it starts as an amuse­ment, but can turn nasty. Some­times, though, that down­turn will be self-in­flicted. Look at the South hand in to­day’s di­a­gram. What would you bid af­ter the given start to the auc­tion?

This deal oc­curred on­line with com­puter pro­grams play­ing in var­i­ous po­si­tions at the 15 ta­bles.

Al­most ev­ery South over­called one spade. Then West re­bid one no-trump, and most Norths strangely re­fused to raise to two spades. When East re­treated to two di­a­monds, South weirdly dou­bled, North re­moved to two spades, and South passed. There were 10 scores of plus 200 for 11 tricks taken.

At some ta­bles, North did raise to two spades, but then South passed. West bal­anced with a take­out dou­ble, East pulled to three clubs, and South passed again. Weirder and weirder!

With such a skewed hand but strong trumps, jump straight to four spades. Ig­nore the vul­ner­a­bil­ity and hope to buy some­thing use­ful in the dummy. It might even si­lence the op­po­nents. Here, five clubs is down only one and five di­a­monds down two, both cheap saves.

At my ta­ble, West led the spade ace against four spades, and East sen­si­bly dis­carded the di­a­mond two. West shifted to a low club. South ruffed, played a heart to the ace and re­turned a heart. West took the trick and now fell from grace by shift­ing to the di­a­mond king. South won, ruffed a heart, drew trumps and claimed an over­trick.

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