The setting: The home of Rodney Lighton for a semi-final of the Higson Cup between St Titus and Manchester S
The participants: For St Titus Gary Hyett & Michael Newman, Alan Mould & Rodney Lighton
For Manchester S Kevin & Celia Comrie, Raymond Semp & Peter Jones
The scene: Scoring up at half-time at the St Titus home table
Michael Newman -2210
Alan Mould Win 12
Michael Newman No we were -2210 ??
Alan Mould Yes win 12
A somewhat unusual conversation. So what was the deal that produced this result?
In the other room
After North had opened one club (could be short) South responded one heart and North rebid one notrump (12-14), South bid two diamonds, game forcing check back *. When North showed heart support South tried four notrumps, Roman Key Card Blackwood **. North showed no key cards and South asked for kings with five notrump, North leapt to the grand slam, presumably because he has all the missing kings, and the opponents doubled. As South what do you bid?
Alan Mould redoubled, reasoning that if thirteen tricks were makeable and the other table played in seven hearts, then the IMPs gained would be 12 instead of 8. If only twelve tricks could be made and the other table played in small slam then the IMPs lost would be 18 instead of 17, so he was risking a further one IMP loss for a four IMP gain.
A club was led to the king and ace. Declarer is still not out of the woods but there is only one way to play the spade suit and the bridge gods decided to favour declarer rather than the underdogs so St Titus chalked up 2940 and 12 IMPs. Had the queen of spades been wrong then it would have been 21 IMPs to Manchester S, a potential 33 IMP swing.
St Titus went on to win a pleasant match played in a good spirit.
* Technically the correct bid is three hearts which is forcing and sets the suit as you are playing weak jump shifts at the two level, but you were in an unfamiliar partnership and unwilling to risk three hearts being passed.
** Again you might have chosen a different bid, five clubs, showing a void and asking for key cards, but ignoring the club ace.
Thanks to Peter Jones for reporting this deal.