You are South holding:

S 10 3
H A 3
D K Q 9 8 5 4 3 2

West dealer, Love all

Last to speak, you expect a lively auction and you are not disappointed when the bidding goes:

Erhart Cohen Bamberger Deas
Pass 5C 5S dble
Redble Pass Pass ??

The stakes are clearly very high now and the question is whether you'll back your initial judgment and stand the redouble or you'll run into the comparatively safe haven of 6C. Or perhaps 6D? If you decide to pass, what will you lead?

Will your decision be different if you know that your team is in front by a fair margin?

            (Scroll down for one solution...)

This was Board 94 from Austria vs USA for the finals of the 1991 Bermuda Bowl, played in Yokohama.

It all comes down to a matter of pride as opposed to safety, it seems. If you stand the redouble, there will be a big swing, either positive or negative. By bidding 6C you stand to lose IMPs, but the loss will be small, with the outside chance of a miraculous make or of pushing them to 6S (unlikely after this bidding, though). As against that, it is very hard psychologically to turn tail now and escape and there is the possibility that your opponents, who are behind in the match, may have made a gambling redouble to exploit your propensity to take insurance.

Lynn Deas however was facing slightly different circumstances than those given at our problem: she knew that her team was miles ahead in the match, so she was more inclined to regard the redouble as a desperation move by her opponents. In fact, she stood the redouble and discovered a way to lose 1000: when the opponents make 5 of a major redoubled. The lead made no difference. 5S was cold because the full deal was:

                        S 9
                        H 6 4 2
                        D 6
                        C K Q J 10 9 7 6 5

S A Q 2                                     S K J 8 7 6 5 4
H Q J 8 5                                   H K 10 9 7
D J 10 7                                    D A
C 8 3 2                                     C 4   

                        S 10 3   
                        H A 3
                        D K Q 9 8 5 4 3 2
                        C A

Six clubs as you see cannot cost more than 500. At the other table, the USA E-W unaccountably sold out to 5D undoubled and they collected 100, losing 14 IMPs. However, they went on to win comfortably the match.

If the state of the match were different, Deas would probably have ran to 6C, I guess. At the Bermuda Bowl final, Balicki of Poland, sitting North, did bid 6C (not after a double and redouble of 5S, though) and he succeeded into pushing the Icelandic E-W to 6S.

Special thanks to Al "BiigAl" Lochli, District 16 ACBL Internet Coordinator for assistance with the HTML presentation.

Nikos Sarantakos,
Luxembourg, June 1998

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