The 3NT curse continues

A recent challenge featured two 3NT contracts from Sydney events that led to massive swings. Here are two more – this time from past Bermuda Bowl World Championships.  

Bermuda Bowl, New York, 1981. Nil vul.

WEST                EAST
 Q987               J54
 AQ964              J32
 6                  J3
 K97                AQJ53

1H     3H*    Double 3NT
Pass   Pass   Double Pass
Pass   Redble  All pass

North, Meckstroth, jumped to three of the enemy suit to ask partner to bid 3NT with the suit stopped, a popular treatment over a major opening. His subsequent redouble, however, expressed doubt about 3NT. South, Rodwell, decided to take his chances anyway.

If Munir, for Pakistan, had led a club, the defence could have taken the first ten tricks, for 2200 points. Instead he guessed to try a spade, allowing Rodwell to make his 3NT redoubled for 750 points, a truly World Championship size difference of 2950 points.

This was under the old scoring methods; after 1988, the penalty would have been 2800 points (because the fourth and subsequent doubled non-vulnerable undertricks are now scored at the vulnerable rate), while 3NT redoubled would have been 800 points (because the 50 points bonus “for the insult” of being doubled was increased to 100 when making a redoubled contract).

Such bravery had less successful results for Sweden a few years later:

Bermuda Bowl, Jamaica, 1987. Both vul.

WEST                EAST
 T6                 Q9732
 765                AK984
 AK73               2
 A764               J9

              2NT*   Pass
3H*    Pass   Pass   3NT*
Double Pass   Pass   Redble
 All pass

East’s Multi 2NT showed at least 5-5 in two suits other than clubs. West’s 3H was correctable, asking partner to pass if hearts was one of his suits. Having passed earlier, South’s 3NT could not be genuine, but rather was the Unusual Notrump for the minors, more commonly seen as a 2NT bid. This was doubled but North, Lindkvist, passed, even after Fallenius, sitting South, redoubled as SOS.

The British defenders, Forrester and Armstrong, defended accurately to take the contract five down, redoubled and vulnerable, for 2800 points.

Recently a lady asked me what it costs to learn bridge. One of the players overheard, and yelled back, “We’re all still paying!” Even some Swedish champions would agree with that sentiment.

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