Bridge

Daily Local News (West Chester, PA) - - YOUR DAILY BREAK - by Phillip Alder

AN­OTHER MILE­STONE IS REACHED AND PASSED

First, look at to­day’s deal and auc­tion. Can you think of a ra­tio­nal ex­pla­na­tion for the bid­ding, es­pe­cially by South?

Amaz­ingly, this is my 8,000th col­umn. To show that you never stop learn­ing at this game, I had an­other new bridge ex­pe­ri­ence on Aug. 15, when I had a re­ally en­joy­able evening play­ing bridge at the Port­land Club in London, as the guest of Stephen Richards.

At the Port­land, no con­ven­tions are al­lowed, not even Stay­man or Black­wood. You may use take­out dou­bles, but bid­ding a new suit re­quires four cards in it, and there are no cue-bids or con­trol-bids. A one-no-trump open­ing shows 1214 points, and two-bids are strong. If a one-level con­tract is passed out un­dou­bled, it is con­ceded, the cards are stacked, and they are dealt in groups of five and three -- a goulash. I sat East on this goulash.

The bid­ding sounded more and more weird to me be­cause I had for­got­ten that partscores car­ried over. (I last played bridge where that was the case per­haps 40 years ago.) On this deal, North-South had 60 on, so two spades was game. Hence South’s strange-look­ing pass at that point. But he made up for it later when my part­ner pushed all the way to the five-level.

If I had been West, I think I would have led the heart ace, hop­ing part­ner had a sin­gle­ton, but here it did not mat­ter. We could take only my part­ner’s aces, so they made a vul­ner­a­ble game for 650 points.

If you would like a fun but slightly frustrating evening, play un­der the Port­land rules.

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