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IF YOU MESS UP AN ARTIFICIAL BID THEN OFTEN PROPER BRIDGE ETIQUETTE WILL TAKE YOU TO A FARCICAL DISASTER
|Hand played on||31/01/2013|
|Vulnerability||East / West|
|Submitted by||Alaric Cundy|
As Bridge disasters go, this one may set new records. East should be congratulated on 'taking his medicine' - even if it did turn out to be exceptionally vile-tasting.
The auction started routinely enough - pretty well anyone playing a 12-14 1NT opener would have selected that bid on the East hand - the 5th club makes it a little bit better than "a really grotty 12-count". Likewise, anyone would have doubled holding the South hand. Clearly West has an ideal hand for a 'rescue' into Diamonds, but how you achieve that aim will depend on your partnership methods. Some common styles are:
- Redouble shows an unspecified 5-card plus suit, and opener bids 2♣, which is treated as 'pass or correct'
- A bid of a suit shows the lower ranking of two (or more) 4-card suits
- A bid of a suit, including 2♣, is natural with 5+ cards
- The double is ignored, and all bids have their normal meanings, eg, Stayman, Transfers, etc
- Redouble is natural - "I expect this contract to make"
- Redouble is a transfer to a minor suit
- Redouble shows two or more 4-card suits, and the partnership continues to bid 'up the line' until they reach an undoubled resting place, or a 4-3 or better fit is found.
At the table, East took the 2♦ bid as a transfer to hearts, but West intended it as natural. The seeds for chaos were sown as soon as East announced 'transfer to Hearts'. East dutifully bid 2♥, but now South, not holding a hand that wanted to defend a low-level doubled suit contract, thought he had settled the matter by jumping to 4♠. West should have accepted that bid as a 'get out of jail free' card, but instead confounded the matter by choosing to emphasise that she in fact held diamonds by sacrificing in 5♦. East should be admired for behaving impeccably here. West had initially shown a heart suit and followed it up with a free bid of 5♦. With all the bidding that was going on, and especially given the unfavourable vulnerability, the logical explanation was that West held a really wild red 2-suiter, probably with very few top cards, but probably 6-5 or even 6-6 shape. With equal length in both partner's suits, East dutifully corrected 5♦* into the first bid suit, 5♥. Indeed, on that interpretation, East may have seen possibilities of making this contract - a 2-2 heart break, plus a six-card diamond suit headed by the Jack, Ten, and with the ♦K onside and it would come home. If just one of those assumptions was wrong, then the contract might be just the one off - potentially a good save against a non-vulnerable 4♠ making. But there again, if West's hand was only slightly better - eg, included the ♥K and five small cards, then an overtrick was even feasible. However, in practice, 5♥ duly got doubled and went 8 off, for an unlikely score of 2,300 to the opponents.No, disasters do not come much bigger than this one.