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When being “bad” is “good”.

I learnt my lesson the hard way. Opening 4 of a minor with a four card spade on the side was a recipe for disaster…and it was disaster as we never found our way to the cold 4 spade contract, wallowing in our minor misfit. It did not seem to matter so much with a heart suit as if we had a heart fit, they were sure to outbid us in spades. So, never, ever again would I be opening a 4-7 shape where spades were the 4 card suit at a high level. Shame!

At one table, West did not pre-empt quite so violently and started with a weak 2 in diamonds. North passed with East going all the way to 5Diamond-small. That left South with a seemingly obvious double and a nervous pass from North. Why should North-South worry as they held 29 out of 40 high card points? Well, we had better show you the four hands which demonstrated North had real concerns.

Board 16
West Deals
E-W Vul
Q 7 5 4 3 2
K 7 5
K 6 3
J 10 9 6
K J 8 7 6 5 2
W   E
J 10 9 6 4 3
A 9 4 3
J 10 9
A K 8
A Q 2
A Q 8 7 5 4
West North East South
2  Pass 5  Dbl
All pass      


Even if North had led a trump, technically the best lead when your side has 29 hcp and they have 11, there would be no opportunity for a second round of trumps with the heart suit providing the parking place for West’s fourth spade.

Even if North had pulled the double to 5Spade-small, there is no saying the auction would end there. 6Spade-small, maybe even 6Club-small, would be very reasonable actions by South. 6Club-small would fall prey to East’s Lightner Double though beating 6Spade-small proved a little tougher than it seems on paper.

This contract failed five times (on a non-diamond lead, East need only show a liking for diamonds) but succeeded twice. Without a diamond opening from those well-brought up West players, a Weak 2Spade-small or Multi 2Diamond-smallopening from North would set North-South on their way to slam.

The beauty of Bridge is that sometimes it pays to be bad (“ill-disciplined” is a more polite term). Often, you have to bear partner telling you why you should not have taken a certain action. It is when partner gives you the same lecture after your side has just collected 13 imps, that you can feel a little aggrieved. Not that your partner ever would….would they?

Richard Solomon

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