I learned contract bridge at 13 and played through grad school. Then came almost 40 years without a bid. But for the last year or so, I’ve been teaching bridge to a group of women. It has been a particularly satisfying endeavor for two reasons: 1) they are members of AAUW—American Association of University Women—and quite intelligent; and 2) the process enables me to recapture what I once knew and long since sequestered in remote memory recesses.
My weekly practice is to prepare a few hands that teach specific lessons and go over them pedagogically after each is played. For the rest of the Monday afternoon, the women deal and play rubber bridge, and I kibitz. This week they dealt and played the following:
Were I South, I suspect I would have bid the hand exactly she did. After West doubled, here’s what would’ve gone through my mind:
• One loser in clubs
• One loser in diamonds
• And since my partner made a free bid of 2 spades, she has a strong five- or a six-card suit, so probably just one loser in spades. In fact, if North’s spades set up, I may be able to toss my diamond loser. Four clubs looks solid.
West had never doubled before. With great excitement, she led her diamond queen…and I needn’t go through the carnage. South went down five…smiling!
Should she have escaped to four spades? It would’ve likely gone down only two. Would East/West have countered with a doable five hearts?
* * * * *
(I’m going to categorize this under Sports…because South was such a good one!)