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E-W vul, matchpoints, as south you hold: ♠5 AK8 AK9876 ♣872






















1Shows 5+ hearts, at least 2 diamonds, 5-9 HCPs.


What do you bid?


I have played infrequently over the winter, preferring the warmth of the Arizona sun. Overall my bridge skills do not seem to have eroded over lack of play, but this hand from yesterday at the Regional was a big exception.




I bid 4 at my 2nd turn, which I thought I could make after partner’s informative double. Clearly the opponents have a lot of black cards. Partner bid 5 which should show at least four diamonds. I pictured his distribution something like 3-5-4-1. I then took a nap and doubled 5♠, and it went all pass.


Had I continued to consider the hand further I would realize that we are likely going to take 11 tricks so if we do declare and go down, even at the seven level, -300 is cheap insurance of they can make their contract. Partner did promise points, but if he has a lot of red cards he may be bidding completely on shape and few points.



Can they make something?


East rates to have 3-2-1-7 shape at least and west 7-2-2-2. So they will go down one probably. But what if I tweak the hands. What if east is instead 3-3-0-7 and West is 7-1-3-2. Now they might make slam, and if we lead diamonds a grand!


The full deal:



♠ 10 3
J 10 9 4 3
♦ Q J 9 3 2
♣ 4

♠ A Q J 9 8 7 6
♥ 7 6 5 2
♦ - 
♣ Q 10

   Bridge deal

♠ K 4 2
♥ Q  
♦ 10 4
♣ A K J 9 6 5 3


♠ 5
♥ A K 8
♦ A K 8 7 6 5
♣ 8 7 2



After partner led a club they made 7♠ for -1250! Despite this score I thought we would win 9 IMPs! I expected a competitive auction to the six level. And it seemed likely our partners would be in 6♠ doubled making six for +1660.


My double is actually a well-documented bridge strategy called the ‘Striped Ape Double’. It means you purposely double the opponents in game when they are headed for slam, knowing that the score for the opponents would be greater if they had bid and made the slam.


Anyways, no such luck! The opponents sold out to 5♣!!! So we lost 12 IMPs instead. I have since started to exercise my grey cells much more!


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