You are South, holding:

S K 8
H Q 10 7 2
D K 10 7 5 4
C 8 5

West dealer, both vul.

The bidding goes:

Aguw Lavings Lasut Lorentz
pass 1D 1S 2D
pass 4C 4S ??

Some would have made a negative double in your place at your first turn, but in any case it seems partner has length in both minors. Now, are you going to pass, double or contract for the 11-trick game? If you elect not to bid on, what do you lead?

       (Scroll Down for the actual results..  )

This was board 4 of Indonesia v Australia in the 4th qualifying round of the 1981 Open World Championship, played at Rye, New York.

The full deal was:

                          S J 9
                          H ---
                          D A Q J 9 8 3
                          C A 9 7 5 2

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

                           S K 8
                           H Q 10 7 2
                           D K 10 7 5 4
                           C 8 5

With partner having described length in the minors it is certainly safer to bid 5D; even if 11 tricks are not always guaranteed (on a different layout, for instance, West might ruff the second spade and then cash a heart) they seem a fair bet. In various other matches, the 5D contract was bid and made, in one case doubled by East.

After all, South has not shown his extra trump length, while his club doubleton is likely to prove valuable for the establishment of partner's second suit. Hearts need not worry him a lot, since partner rates not to have too many of them.

However, in our featured match both Souths elected to double 4S. There was a large swing, nevertheless, due to the opening lead. Lorentz led a diamond, and Lasut ruffed and cashed the ace of spades. He ended losing, all in all, one trump, one club and one heart, scoring 790.

At the other table, Sacul, North, had opened a Precision 1C and Jacobs sensibly bounced to 4S. Waluyan, South, had to double for penalties. He only knew that partner held a strong hand. Nonetheless, he found the H2 lead! Another 200, that is 14 IMPs for Indonesia.

Your winning options are to bid 5D or to pass/double and lead a heart. Any other lead gives you a minus.

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

Nikos Sarantakos,
Luxembourg, June 1998