Bridge - The Scotsman, 05/04/13

BRIDGE players have different ambitions. One English player has spent his career trying to record every possible score, from a lowly +50 to +3160 for 1NT redoubled with six overtricks.

Not every multiple of 10 is possible, but he would surely have been pleased to add this one to his collection. It comes from the qualifying stages of the 1987 Bermuda Bowl in Jamaica.

Looking at the North-South cards there seem to be a number of fine Grand Slams – barring extreme distributional storms there are 13 tricks in no-trump, hearts and diamonds. When you look at the whole hand you can see that 7D by South fails on a spade lead. The lead is obvious if East makes a Lightner double – but that is risky since it may persuade North-South to run to a more successful spot. However, the problem of whether to double 7D did not arise often, since East’s club pre-empt – all levels were tried – made it too hard for North-South to bid a Grand Slam with any assurance.

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The New Zealand East opened 4C, and when North raised 5D to 6D he made a Lightner double of that contract, hoping for a ruff and a second trick from heaven. The Jamaican South foresaw the impending ruff, but he did not mind losing one trick, so he redoubled. The spade lead stopped the overtrick, but the score was +1380: not quite as much as the +1520 available from 7NT, but enough to gain 9 imps when his East team-mate left the double card in the box.