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If you “walk the dog”, watch out for the traffic!

“Walking the dog” is a phrase which can mean many different things depending on the context. In Bridge terminology, it refers to a player who takes rather a long-winded way to where he or she is always going in the hope that the opponents may rather misjudge what you hold and may think you have rather overbid..and double your making contract for one or more overtricks. Heavenly!

Have you tried this technique recently? You know. You hold 9 solid hearts and the Club-smallA… and reluctantly are forced to compete to 4Heart-small…making it seem very reluctant. It can be good fun but the ending is not always happy. Watch out for the traffic!

Spade-small KQJ876532

Heart-small K62

Diamond-small –

Club-small T

With neither side vulnerable, you hear your right hand opponent open 1Club-small, showing at least 3 cards in that suit. Any decent text-book would have you consume all their bidding space and jump straight to 4Spade-small. Let them work out what to do next.

Not though the dog walker. He bids a simple 1Spade-small which is odds on a making contract. Yet, the bidding just will not end there. He knows that. Indeed, two passes followed but the opener found another bid:

West              North                        East                South

1Club-small                   1Spade-small                          Pass                Pass

3NT                ?

So, what does our dog-walker do now? Forced to bid at the 4 level, they duly do so…4Spade-small.

car hits dog.jpg

All according to plan, as the awaited double came. Yet, there was one person at the table who did not know the script:

West              North                        East                South

1Club-small                   1Spade-small                          Pass               Pass

3NT                   4Spade-small                          Pass               Pass

x                      Pass                          Pass               4NT!

Was this to play or a request for partner to bid a different suit? No matter. North bid their suit one more time which was followed by a double from an up to now quiet East to end the auction. Would the fast route to 4Spade-small have been more successful?

West Deals
None Vul
K Q J 8 7 6 5 3 2
K 6 2
A 4
A 3
A 10
A Q 9 8 7 4 3
W   E
10 9
Q 9 8 5
J 9 7 6 5 4 2
J 10 7 4
K Q 8 3
K J 6 5 2
West North East South
1  1  Pass Pass
3 NT 4  Pass Pass
Dbl Pass Pass 4 NT
Dbl 5  Dbl All pass


East led a diamond which meant there would be 4 losers, two black aces and two hearts…down 2 for -300.  Not much of a dive against 4Diamond-small, the best positive contract the opponents could realistically achieve. While North might be advising partner about the technique of “dog walking”, it is interesting to see how many light 3NT would have been on the Spade-smallK lead. The answer is “several” though West’s fate would not have been as bad as those who declared 5Club-small, doubled of course…after a direct jump to 4Spade-small perhaps?

Richard Solomon



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