. A pass is generally regarded as a sign of weakness, but there are times when it can be used to mask an ulterior purpose.
For a striking example of the lethal power of a strategic pass, consider this deal featuring Peter Weichsel, for many years one of the world's top players.
Weichsel, North, overcalled West’s club bid with one diamond. East then bid one heart, and South barged in with two spades, a weak bid as played by Weichsel and his partner. But after West next bid three hearts, Weichsel passed!
He knew, of course, that he had the values for a three- or four-spade bid, but he felt confident that East would not drop the bidding before game was reached.
As expected, East did continue on to four hearts -though after a lengthy pause during which Weichsel no doubt died a thousand deaths — and Weichsel belatedly bid four spades. This rolled around to West, who thought that North was sacrificing, so he doubled.
This turned out to be a disastrous decision when declarer made the contract with two overtricks, losing only a diamond.
As a result, North-South scored a tidy 1,190 points, directly attributable to Weichsel ’ s well-judged second-round pass.
It is true that the pass of three hearts would have turned sour had East been sufficiently inspired to pass also, but Weichsel had the courage to back his conviction that East would bid. His judgment was amply rewarded when everything turned out exactly as he had planned.