The Hamilton Spectator

It makes a two-trick difference in result


The mathematic­s of bridge favors bidding vulnerable games. Assuming duplicate scoring, if you can win 10 tricks in a major, you score either 170 or 620, depending on whether or not you bid the game. If you can win only nine tricks, your result is plus 140 or minus 100. If the game makes half the time, you will be, on average, 105 points per deal better off if you always bid game rather than stop in a part-score.

North had this in mind when he raised his partner's wafer-thin opening bid all the way to four spades on today's deal from a duplicate tournament. Let's see how three declarers handled the play.

After West led a low club, the first South rose with dummy's king and took an immediate spade finesse. It lost, East received a club ruff and the defenders cashed three red-suit tricks: down two.

The second declarer won trick one in hand with the club jack and led a diamond toward the dummy. He paid an equally heavy price. West went in with the ace and led the club eight. East ruffed and, reading the eight as a suit-preference signal, returned the heart four. West won with the ace and played a heart back to East's king. A third heart allowed West to score his spade king for down two.

The last declarer won trick one with the club jack and laid down the spade ace. Bingo — the king appeared. South continued with a spade to the queen, a club to the ace, a spade to the jack and a diamond discard on the club king. He conceded three red-suit tricks and claimed his contract. Sometimes it pays to be a little lucky.

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