An Auction Like Never Before 

I promised to relate some of our adventures from the North American Championships in San Francisco, and here is the first one. I sat west and watched as the auction in the diagram unfolded. While I was trying to pay attention in case we ended up defending, a part of my mind was asking, "What kind of hand could possibly be described starting with a one-bid and ending up in slam?" The hand I held evidently had no redeeming features in either the offensive or defensive mode, so I maintained my silence and eventually put down my hand as the dummy.

The event was the North American Swiss Teams qualifying, which means that scoring was in international match points (imps), but it also meant that the mission was to get big scores. At pairs, plus 50 points can be a big board, but at imps, 50 is trivial, so you do not want to let the opponents play in game if you have a good sacrifice that will let them score fewer points. At the same time, you want to get a big score yourself, and those factors go a long way to explain my partner Charlene's bidding with that monstrous spade suit.

The opponents did well up to the point at which they got Charlene high enough so that they could set her with the obvious two heart tricks that you see in the diagram, but they did not do well with their opening lead of a diamond. My partner was quick to trump that lead, draw trumps in two rounds and then play the ace of clubs. When the singleton queen fell, the north player flopped his whole hand on the table in concession, seeing that the entire club suit was going to score and get rid of any potential heart losers. Six spades doubled, making seven, is a score I had never before seen in 40 years of duplicate bridge: 1,310.

What makes the story even more remarkable is that our teammates playing these cards at the other table were doubled in five diamonds making five for a score of 750 and a total swing of 2,060 points.

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