A Greek gift


A friend from Greece sent me the following deal which arose in this year's Greek Open Pairs. In that deal a declarer, not being satisfied with his already excellent score tried for a still better one. This attitude was called hubris in ancient Greece and it was severely punished by the gods; the custom is still valid in modern Greece, at least at the bridge table.


Game all, East dealer



                             K Q 7

                             A J 9 2

                             A 10 9 6

                             J 3


9                                                  J 8 3                      

Q 10 4                                           K 6

Q 8 4                                            K J 7 2

A Q 9 8 5 4                                     K 10 7 6


                             A 10 6 5 4 2

                             8 7 5 3

                             5 3




West          North                East                 South

                                    pass                 pass

1C            dbl                  redbl                2S

3C            3S                   dbl                  all pass


Having opened light at third seat, my friend, sitting West, was not overjoyed to hear partner redouble. He bid 3C over 2S, trying to convey weakness. East should perhaps bid 4C, but with an eye to the vulnerability he went for the magic 200.


The ace of clubs was led and the second round ruffed. Declarer drew trumps in three rounds, finishing in his hand and then tried the three of hearts towards dummy. My friend, increasingly gloomy, especially when he saw that partner had no trump trick, decided that desperate measures were called for. He played the queen of hearts, won by the ace in dummy. Now, regardless of the heart break, declarer has nine sure tricks; any heart from dummy will do. Declarer knew this, but placing West with king and queen of hearts he wanted to make sure of a doubled overtrick, although this would hardly improve his already excellent score.


Wanting to return to hand to play another heart up, declarer played ace of diamonds and another, won by East's king, who played a low diamond, ruffed by declarer's penultimate trump. Now South played another low heart towards dummy's jack. In the ancient times, hubris was punished by a god called Nemesis. In this deal, Nemesis had the form of the king of hearts. West won and played the jack of diamonds, exhausting declarer's trumps. With the hearts still not established, the defence had to take the three last tricks for an excellent 200.