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Not the Best Result


When this hand came up in a recent club game, I was confident of gaining a plus score with my hand in the east position as I observed the auction, because I had almost-certain trump and club tricks and a partner who had freely entered the bidding. Our opponents were Lee Nelson and Bob Pence, longtime partners and faithful players at the club, and my thinking at the time was that they had bid out of their depth and that we should be able to score enough tricks in a club or spade contract to set them at the level of five. The outcome of the hand was a bucket of cold water that quickly cooled my enthusiasm.

Mr. Nelson demonstrated faultless play as he ruffed out his two losing hearts, drew three rounds of trumps which left me with my lonely trump winner, and proceeded to discard one of his losing clubs on the extra diamond winner in dummy. The upshot of the hand was that they scored 11 tricks to make five spades doubled and vulnerable for 850 points and a top score on the hand. The only tricks our side took were a spade and a club, the two winners I thought I had at the beginning.

We could have avoided this result by not doubling or by bidding to the level of six hearts, our best fit. This action would have given up only 500 points and less than a bottom board because some pairs who played the north-south hands bid game for 620 points, but because this action was not obvious to me, I have to shoulder the blame for this bad result.

If there is a lesson to be learned from this hand, it would be to bid higher with distributional hands over opponents who bid freely to the level of game.