A Cold Contract 

I sat east on this hand recently against Michael (Bubba) Schleef, who sat south. After my partner overcalled a spade, I stretched my values to bid 3 spades in a vain effort to shut out Bubba from the bidding, but he carried on to 4 hearts all on his own. My partner calculated that since our side seemed to have most of the points and she had heart length and strength, she should be able to defeat 4 hearts, so she placed the double card on the table with some authority.

A glance at the hand diagram will tell you that on any lead and with the way that the cards sit, 10 tricks in hearts are not only cold but also very easy! With the club king sitting under the ace-queen, the only losers are the 3 heart tricks that west will come to. Bubba very kindly made no comment about the wisdom of our double, accepting his top board with grace. Note that the seeming superior fit in diamonds will not succeed in game because of the bad split in that suit. Four hearts is the only place to be.

Bubba has recently taken up the game of bridge, attending lessons to learn bidding and play, and he has been an enthusiastic participant in club games. He fearlessly enters the best competition against experienced players and indeed won the club game last Tuesday playing with frequent partner Daryl Sallaz. If they keep, this up they will be known for good reason as the fearsome twosome.

Last weekend the unit finals for the Grand National Teams were held, with qualifiers intending to compete in the district finals in Helena in May. Winners in that final will earn a subsidized trip to the Chicago Nationals to compete for the national title. Good luck to all the participants. We will have a report on the event next week.

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