Minus 1,400 and a Top Board 

We played this interesting hand at the club recently, and it helps illustrate some of the attractions of duplicate bridge: You are scored on your handling of the cards you are given in comparison to how the other players have played the same cards. The element of luck in the deal of the cards is removed. Often you create your own luck in the bidding and play of the cards, and I got lucky on this hand as I overbid my hand in the west position and got away with a good board.

Over the opening bid of three spades, I could have guaranteed a good board for us by showing two minor suits, to see if my partner had a fit in one of the suits. I chose instead to bid my weak club suit and heard Craig Jones, my left-hand opponent and also my partner in the bridge club, contract for a notrump slam. When the bidding came back around to me, I counted losers and decided that I could bid seven clubs and lose only five tricks for minus 1,400 as opposed to letting Jones score 1,440 in six notrump. That difference of only 40 points could mean the difference between an average score, if other holders of the north cards were bidding to slam, and a top score.

The confident bidding by north-south moved me to make that bid of seven clubs in the hope that my calculations would work out, and I was lucky enough to lose only the obvious five losers for the minus 1,400 I had counted on. When we looked at the scores on the board, we were pleased to see that every pair who held the north-south cards had bid to slam for either 1,430, six spades making six, or 1,440, six notrump making six.

The result was that we were minus 1,400 and got the top score on the board, causing my dear friend and partner Jones no end of anguish.

Notice that if we had played in diamonds we would have gone down only four tricks for minus 1,100, but our matchpoint score would have been the same.

The club is participating in the Sectional Tournament at Clubs event, and the Monday evening event was won by Mike Wilson and Dan Neely, two players from the "C" stratum. Their score was good enough to win the top place among C players in all the clubs that participated, and sixth overall among the 159 tables in the competition. This is an impressive victory for C strat players. Congratulations, Mike and Dan.

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