A Bridge Phantasmagoria
Nobody had a kind word for McTavish’s wild bid of Four Hearts on the hand below. Actually the bid was stimulated by a misplay by partner on the previous hand, but the main discussion raged over West’s double. Should he have warned declarer of bad breaks? In fact it is silly to warn McTavish of anything as West found to his cost.
East-West game: North deals
North opened One Diamond and McTavish at South went straight to Four Hearts, duly doubled by West who led the queen of spades. Anyone who has the nerve to double me must indeed have all the missing goodies, thought McTavish to himself, and so he now considered himself as on Red Alert.
He won the spade lead and passed the queen of hearts round to West, taking due note of the ten from East. After ruffing the spade continuation, McTavish entered dummy with the king of diamonds and ruffed another spade.
Over to dummy with the ace of diamonds, he ruffed a third round of the suit and had now reduced his trumps to the same length as West. On the lead of the jack of clubs, West went up with the ace and returned a low club. Playing West for all the missing strength, McTavish bravely finessed the ten and cashed the king of clubs.
Finally McTavish ruffed the fourth club. West could overruff if he liked but by then he must lead away from his jack of trumps into declarers ace-nine.
Without the Red Alert from West, McTavish would no doubt have banked on 3-2 hearts and gone down. A one trick set would only have gained West a measly 50 points, but in effect cost him 590 points which makes his double a very poor bet.