Source: The Guardian Thursday 7 July 2011
Zia Mahmood
I once had the distinction, if that is the right word, of making no tricks at all as declarer in a doubled contract. I had opened an almost impeccable strong no trump, and when my left-hand opponent doubled for penalty and my right-hand opponent sat for it I passed, but after my left-hand opponent had run a six-card suit of his own and put his partner in to do likewise, the bad guys still had an ace and I was down seven. I consoled myself with the thought that I had established a world record that was unlikely to be beaten, but I had reckoned without the developments on today’s deal from the European Open Championships in Poznan. Dealer North E/W Vul
Q 8 7 5 5 4 3 2 J 10 9 5 3
6 2 K 10 8 7 Q K J 8 7 4 2 J 10 3 A 9 6 A K 9 8 4 A 10
A K 9 4 Q J 7 6 5 3 2 Q 6
East opened a strong no trump, and had this article been written a few years ago it would not have been written at all (if you see what I mean). West would use Stayman in case his partner had hearts, East would deny a major, West would gamble 3NT, the defence would take the first four tricks in spades, declarer would take the next nine with the favourable lie of the minor suits, and no one would know that there was the slightest problem. Not today. It is all the rage to intervene, especially at favourable vulnerability, against an opening bid of one no trump to your right. The arguments are perfectly sound – most expert pairs will reach a good contract left to their own devices after one of them opens a no trump, so you should not leave them to their own devices but introduce devices of your own. South had such a device: he bid two diamonds to show diamonds and a major suit. West doubled, which was explained (correctly) as a takeout double of diamonds. So, expecting East to take it out, North passed the double rather than attempting to play in his partner’s major. This proved a huge error, because East was quite happy to defend two diamonds doubled, so the auction finished in that contract. West led the queen of diamonds, then a heart to East’s ace. East drew trumps and played the ace of clubs and another. Since West (to his credit) had not discarded any clubs, the defenders took the rest. Eight down.