You are South, holding:

S Q 10 8 6 3 2
D 6 
C K J 9 7 3

South dealer, N-S vul.

You consider your hand unfit for a weak 2S opening because your suit is not too robust and you have a five-card side suit as well. A moment later, you have repented it, since the auction has risen a bit too steeply for your taste:

Rose Klukowski Sheehan Jezioro
pass 2H pass 4H

2H is a weak two, while 4H is ambiguous: it could be either a continuation of the preempt, or a sincere game bid ... or both of them!

Pass is the sage choice; 4S is the temerary bid. In any case, what do you bid now?

    (Scroll down - see what happened at the table.. )

This was board 32 of G.Britain v Poland for the 13th qualifying round of the 1981 Open World Championship.

The full deal was:

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

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

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

South had no conventional call available to describe his hand: 4NT would be a call for the minors, while double would tend to show a different hand. However, Rose, the British South, knew that his partner had an inference available after him bidding 4S: since he did not open a weak two nor a three bid in spades, it would be "obvious" that his hand was two-suited. Hence, if North were short in spades he'd probably ask for South's second suit. Thus, Rose bid 4S, which turned out to be an excellent move.

4H for E-W is always on, while N-S can make 10 or 11 tricks in 4S! The icing on Rose's cake was that Jezioro, the East player, thought that Rose was saving, so he applied the axe -but it turned out that it was a boomerang, when Rose guessed clubs and scored a doubled overtrick for 990! At the other table, Milde opened the South hand with a "Wilkosz" 2D (showing any 5-5 except for the two minors) so N-S found easily their fit and bid 4S. They were doubled again, but no overtrick was made, so G.Britain gained 5 IMPs after all.

Playing against Argentina, Meckstroth (making his debut in world championships) passed as well the South hand as a dealer and later elected to pass in Rose's position. This was a double game swing against the USA, 14 IMPs, when at the other table N-S bid and made 4S against silent opposition.

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

Nikos Sarantakos,
Luxembourg, June 1998