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Fierce Bidding

  by Richard Pavlicek

Completed last Sunday in Riviera Beach was the annual bridge tournament sponsored by the Florida Unit of the American Contract Bridge League. The hospitality of the Palm Beach County players was, as usual, overwhelming with free orange juice, coffee, and a continuous snack buffet. Thus, it was no surprise to see a record turnout, including many of the top players in South Florida.

The popular Swiss Team event was captured by the Broward County team of Arthur “Gabby” Coren, Richard Coren (son), Richard Golden and Fred Hamilton. Today’s deal occurred in their fifth-round match against a contending team, and it illustrates the fierce competition at duplicate bridge.

6 H× South
N-S Vul
S 3
H 9 7 5 4 2
D A K 7 3
C 8 6 4

1 S
4 S
5 S
2 D
5 H
6 H
1 C
3 S
1 H
4 D
6 D
S K Q J 10 6
D 9 6 5 4
C Q 9 3 2
TableS A 9 7 5
H A Q 8
D 2
C K J 10 7 5

Lead: S K
S 8 4 2
H K J 10 6 3
D Q J 10 8

Richard Coren, North, passed as dealer, but then came to life when Hamilton, South, overcalled in hearts. His two-diamond bid may seem strange, but he wanted to indicate where his strength lay. He knew the bidding would not end there; in fact, he expected this to be the starting gun for a competitive auction.

And so it was: East jump-raised spades, South raised diamonds, West bid more spades and North raised hearts. East took time out for a questionable double, but West removed this to five spades. It was now up to South, who pushed aggressively to six diamonds at unfavorable vulnerability. West doubled and North corrected to six hearts, also doubled.

Did Hamilton make his six-heart contract? No way. He had to lose a spade and a heart for down one. (Yes, the armchair defense of a diamond lead, followed by an underlead of the spade ace, would result in a diamond ruff and a two-trick set; would you have found it?) Nonetheless, six hearts (minus 200) was the winning bid because Gabby Coren and Richard Golden made five spades (plus 450) at the other table for a gain of 250 points.

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© 1986 Richard Pavlicek