Far out deals in the Far East

The Yeh Bros Cup is one of the world’s big money bridge competitions. These dramatic deals are from a past match between Italy and the USA:

Dealer South, both vul.

          ♠ 63
          ♥ 9
          ♦ KQ842
          ♣ KQJ86
WEST                EAST
♠ 52                ♠ 9
 AT86               QJ5432
 AJ975              T63
 54                 932
          ♠ AKQJT874
          ♥ K7
          ♦ —
          ♣ AT7   

WEST       NORTH      EAST        SOUTH
J Stansby  DeFalco    L Stansby   Garozzo
Pass       3H!        Pass        7S!
Dble       7NT        Pass        Pass
Dble        All pass

The Italians had an auction that illustrates the dangers inherent in playing a complicated system. North’s 3H bid was a slam try showing both minors. South thought their agreement was that it showed long spades, but knew that was impossible so thought North must have thought it showed a good heart suit, a comedy (or tragedy) of errors that resulted in Garozzo’s 7S bid.

JoAnna Stansby, sitting West, doubled this and then doubled the escape to 7NT. East, Lew Stansby, could now lead a heart and take the first seven tricks giving declarer a score of minus 2000 points. Lew, however, thought perhaps West was doubling based on having the ace of spades, so he led the S9, and declarer claimed 13 tricks for plus 2490 points.

While there is no penalty for making a wrong bid, the opponents can be compensated if they are disadvantaged by a wrong explanation as to what the bid should have meant, and the Stansbys both called for the director, who awarded a result of one down, a middle path which either side could have appealed. As it happens, Italy won by enough that no appeal was necessary, thanks largely to the following hand:

Dealer East, both vul.

          ♠ —
          ♥ AT763
          ♦ AKQ987
          ♣ 32
WEST                EAST
♠ Q                 ♠ KJT542
 KQJ8               52
 652                T43
 KQJ97              A6
          ♠ A98763
          ♥ 94
          ♦ J
          ♣ T854   

             2S     Pass
Pass  Dble    All pass

With the North cards, DeFalco could have made a Michaels Cue Bid to show hearts and a minor, but opted instead to try a takeout double. This struck oil because Garozzo, South, had a trump stack and passed for penalties, garnering 500 points, while his teammates at the other table collected another 300 points when North played 4D and went three down.

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