Source: St. Petersburg Times – 17 May 1971

One of our early American novelists did pretty well with an effort called “Twice Told Tales,” but there is reason to doubt that he was ever much of a bridge player. He would have run out of partners if he had tried to tell the same tale twice at the bridge table. At any rate, that was South’s experience in today’s hand.

Dealer East, E/W Vul

6
Q 7 6 5 4 2
9 2
10 6 5 2
A J 5
9 8
10 6 4 3
K Q J 7
K Q 7 4
A J 10 3
5
A 9 8 3
10 9 8 3 2
K
A K Q J 8 7
4
West North East South
1 2
3 Pass 3 3
Dbl Pass Pass 4
Dbl Pass Pass Pass

Opening lead: K

South told his entire story when he jumped to two diamonds at his first turn. By the time his second turn came, it was clear that the hand “belonged” to the opponents and that North could have very little help.

Alfred Sheinwold
Alfred Sheinwold

In a situation of this kind, it is the sheerest folly for a player to tell his story a second time. The opponents may decide that they have no game and that a penalty double will therefore yield them the biggest return. If South had passed three hearts, West would have bid (four clubs and East would have passed. East would make 10 or 11 tricks, depending on the defense, and no great damage would be done to either side. As the diagram shows, South was not content to speak his piece and then subside; and his second speech landed him in the soup.

Heavy Price

South paid a heavy price for free speech. West opened the king of clubs and shifted to a trump on seeing dummy’s singleton spade. South won and returned the ten of spades, but West stepped up with the jack in order to lead another trump. This deprived dummy of any ruffs.

South won and led another spade, and back came a club to make South ruff. When South led a third spade, the defenders led a third club, reducing declarer to West’s trump length. Since South could win only his six trump tricks against this fine de-fense, the defenders collected a penalty of 800 points. This was many times the value of their part score.

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