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.