Shangai hands (7) - Two bare kings

When one opts to sacrifice against a slam that may not make, we usually say that he "took insurance". Such insurance can have hefty premiums, though. Really good insurance is when the penalty you pay is less than the amount of their game. Cristof Martens found such a good insurance in the above deal played at Round 7 against USA I.

Brd 14   A865
None     JT52
KT             J4
A97653                 QJT842
Q8754            A2
Mahmood          Rosenberg

 W   N   E   S
 2S! 4S  4NT!P
 5C  P   5H  5S
 6H  P   P   6S
 X   P   P   P
Yes, single-dummy the 6H slam is awful, but single-dummy you can' t see that the king of clubs is (proverbially?) bare. Martens knew this -he had two bare kings, actually, which seems a lot, so he took out insurance which turned out remarkably cheap: a mere down two, 300. The travellers were littered with -1210 when other players at his position spurned the insurance policy and doubled. However, his gain was modest, because at the other table Garner elected to open 1D the West hand (what do you choose with a 5M-6m? I usually open the major) and the spade suit was never mentioned, so the Poles at NS played a sedate 4H making twelve, for a 5-imp gain. Finally the Poles won by 6, stemming a tad the excellent run of the Americans.

Nikos Sarantakos

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2007 Nikos Sarantakos