Bridge is a game, and I think it ought to be played for fun. Some players who feel that way have a habit of tabletalking a bit too much. Sometimes that can be used to advantage.

Playing in a regional pairs event limited to players with 1000 or more masterpoints, we are playing against a very talkative pair at table 3.

Partner deals and opens 1D:, and I hold:

 S:QJ4 H:AQ73 D:104 C:AKJ6
This hand holds some promise, but I must start with 1H:, since an immediate jump shift shows that I know which suit should be trumps; I certainly don't on this hand.

With the opponents passing throughout, partner jumps to 3D:, and I have a problem. Partner ostensibly has 16-18 points with a very good six-card diamond suit, but I know partner is a bit of an overbidder. Regardless, it looks worthwhile to shoot out 6NT, so I go for it.

LHO strongly feels otherwise. He pulls out the Stop card from his bidding box. He pulls out all his double cards and spreads them on the table. Then he reaches over to my bidding box and pulls out all my doubles and adds them to his stack. He grabs partner's, too, and his partner hands him his so that he doesn't have to reach over the table. Partner thinks about this and, after a while, passes, as does RHO. I have a problem.

PartnerRHOMeRed Card Man
It seems pretty clear that LHO has the S:AK. He might have, instead, a diamond trick and the S:A, but I don't think he'd double so loudly without either two aces or an ace-king. If he has two aces, partner really isn't close to his bid, so we are off two fast spades.

On the previous hand, RHO overcalled 1H:, which was alerted and explained as ``he might not have a good hand, he is likely to have only four hearts, and it is primarily for lead-directional value.'' I think I have an angle. LHO and I know that he's got the S:AK, but his partner doesn't know that. Since he didn't overcall 1S:, his partner can be pretty certain that, in fact, he doesn't have two quick spade tricks. I think I have them. I convert to 7D: and expect a club lead. I don't know if we can make this, but at least we'll have a chance.

7D: gets doubled, too, but this time a bit more slowly, which is not surprising, since LHO has used up all the double cards already. RHO has the C:8 on the table even before I have a chance to redouble, but I see no need for that. Partner thinks about this for about three minutes, wins the Ace, finesses the H:10 in his hand and claims making seven.

LHO should not have doubled 6NT, which, as we leave, his partner is explaining to him at about 110 decibels.

Copyright © 1995 Jeff Goldsmith