Playing online for bidding fun
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.