Bidding a minor suit game is always difficult at duplicate
bridge. In today's hand, not only did the North-South pair bid
and make a minor suit game, but had the East-West pair bid their
minor suit game, they would have been surprised to see it also
After South opened one club and West made a heart overcall,
North had a problem. With twelve points and hearts, it may seem
right to bid two no trump, however, the North hand is not the
type of hand you want to have for a no trump contract. With
favorable vulnerability (the opponents are vulnerable and you are
not), the chance to defend against one heart, doubled, could not
be ignored. The problem with that possibility is that North-
South are playing 'negative doubles', so North cannot make a
penalty double at this point. The only rational alternative is
to pass and see how the auction plays out.
East also passes and South shows his six card suit by
rebidding clubs. You might wonder why he did not bid one spade.
Remember, South knows that North does not have a four card or
better spade suit. He did not bid spades nor did he make a
West shows his second suit by bidding two diamonds and North
now shows his values by making a cue bid of three diamonds. East
asks South what North's bid means and South correctly explains
that the cue bid is forcing and should show agreement for the
club suit. East raises diamonds and South bids the club game.
West and North both pass and the pressure is on East. He is
looking at two aces and partner has bid twice. He finally
decides that three tricks on defense will be easier than eleven
tricks on offense, and backs that decision by doubling.
The play went quickly. East scored both of his aces and
declarer made eleven tricks for a fine score of +550.
There is an old saying in bridge that "The five level
belongs to the opponents." The meaning is that you should not
compete for the contract at the five level. In the case of this
hand, the old saying turned out to be bad advice.
a free-lance writer in Solon.