Many years ago, a British Columbia team journeyed to Seattle to play a team-of-eight match against a U.S. Pacific Northwest team. One deal produced a startling series of results and indicates how bridge players’ minds run in different channels.
At one of the four tables, the bidding went as shown. The U.S. South reached five clubs doubled, North redoubled, and declarer then took all the tricks for a score of 1,150 points.
A heart was led to dummy’s ace, and declarer cashed the ace of spades, discarding the jack of hearts. After playing the ace of diamonds, South led a low trump to his nine. He then ruffed a diamond, finessed the 10 of clubs, repeated the finesse and cashed the ace, catching East’s king. When the diamonds turned out to be divided 3-3, the Canadian defenders wound up with no tricks at all.
At the second table, something very strange occurred. All four players passed! Apparently, the U.S. North thought his hand was not good enough to open, and South, lacking the majors and holding only 11 high-card points, also passed. Thus, North-South never bid on a hand on which they could make a grand slam!
At the third table, the U.S. West opened three spades, which everybody passed! This was easily made, as the Canadian pair at this table also didn’t utter a peep.
At the fourth table, the U.S. West also opened three spades. After two passes, South decided to put up a fight. He bid four diamonds, which everyone passed, and somehow went down two for a loss of 100 points.
The U.S. team would have fared even better if at one table it had not passed out a hand on which it could make a grand slam!