The not-so-good old days
Calamity can strike at any time, but in this deal South was exceptionally hardhit. The hand occurred many years ago in a rubber-bridge game.
South opened one club, and, after West had overcalled with two hearts (strong in those days), North raised to three clubs on decidedly skimpy values.
East bid three hearts, and South tried three spades. After North bid five clubs over West’s four hearts, South could hardly be criticized for carrying on to six. He had a right to expect strong trump support from partner, and that was about all he needed.
Why North bid five clubs is difficult to understand. He no doubt intended the bid as a sacrifice against four hearts, but whatever the reason, the outcome was disastrous.
West led a heart, and South ruffed. Faced with certain defeat, declarer attempted to cut his losses by leading a club, hoping to find the trumps divided 2-2 and so go down only one.
But West won the club with the ten and continued with the A-K-Q, drawing all the remaining trumps. He then cashed five hearts to defeat the contract eight tricks!
The penalty amounted to 4,400 points because at that time (1934), the first undertrick was 200 points, the second 300, the third 400 and so on.
Furthermore, to add insult to injury, West scored 100 honors to bring the total loss on the deal to 4,500 points!
(c) 2017 King Features Synd., Inc.