Bridge | 5 June 2021

5 June 2021

9:00 AM

5 June 2021

9:00 AM

It’s hard to think of anything more expensive at the bridge table than doubling the opponents and then watching them make because of your double. Oh, when will we learn to just sit back and take a small plus score?

If the person you double also happens to be a world-class player, then you have to be prepared to swallow a pretty bitter pill.

I was watching Thomas Bessis of France, playing a match with his father, Michel, and benefitting from a greedy and ill-chosen double.

Bessis the younger was sitting South. He ended up in 4♥, rather excitedly doubled by West, and received the opening lead of the Ace of Diamonds which he ruffed.

On hands like these, you’re best off establishing your side suit before trying to draw trumps, so South went to dummy and played a Spade to the Jack and Queen. West exited a Club to South, and the next Spade was won by East who played another Diamond, ruffed.

Declarer is down to four trumps and the established Spades. Without a double, he would probably have cashed the top trumps, hoping for a 3-2 break; after West’s double though — and especially when the ♠Ace turned up in the East hand — trumps are almost certainly 4-1.

Thomas cashed one round of trumps, and then played his good Spades through West. The Jack of trumps in dummy had grown into a massive card, and West could do nothing. Ruffing low or discarding gives the contract immediately, so he ruffed with the queen and forced South again, but the next Spade just repeated the trick and game was made.

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