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Sand. Bags of it

This incredible deal comes the 17th Chairman’s Cup in Örebro, Sweden. It features the invited English team Neil Rosen, Martin Jones, Heather Dhondy, Nevena Senior, Peter Crouch and Derek Patterson. They won no medals but Martin (sitting South) and Neil (North) certainly had a tale to tell.


West Deals
None Vul
J 7 4 3 2
Q 9 6 4 2
8 4
K 8 5
K J 10 5
K Q 10 8 6 3
W   E
Q 10 9 6
A 8 7 3
A J 9 5
A K Q J 10 9 7 5 3 2
7 4
West North East South
  Rosen   Jones
1 ♣ 2 ♣1 Dbl2 2 3
3 ♣ Pass 4 ♣ 4 4
5 ♣ Pass Pass 5 
6 ♣5 6 6 Dbl Pass
Pass Pass
  1. Michaels, showing five-five in the majors. Normally you would have better suits (!) but North is trading on the favourable vulnerability.
  2. Showing clubs in East-West’s methods, although a more standard (recommended) approach is to play double as showing good defensive values.
  3. The sandbag.
  4. Continuing to slow-play.
  5. Good shot – West was not fooled by South’s sandbagging.
  6. Wow! Rosen springs to life, also aware that partner’s unusual bidding is suggestiveof the sandbag. Given that his solitary asset for partner was his minor-suit distribution, you’d have to say that this was a great shot. I suspect he was more concerned thar his complete lack of defence would mean 6♣ was making and he was saving (indeed he would have to lead a heart - for a ruff - to beat 6♣)

When you pick up a one-in-a million hand such as South’s you have various options. You can be entirely honest and bid the value of your hand straight away (here 5 ); maybe the pponents will let you play there (in your dreams).

Alternatively you can bid beyond the value of your hand (6 ); this has a number of ways to win: the opponents may bid on, taking a phantom sacrifice of 7 ♣ [whereas if you bid 5 , then 6 over their 6 ♣, they will not then bid on to 7 ♣ (and you’d expect to go down one in 6 )]; or they may let you play (in 6 ) and if dummy hits with an unexpected trick you make (as here). There is a third approach: the one taken by Coventry’s Martin Jones. The slow-play or sandbag. Popular in poker when you have the likely “nuts” (best hand), you underbid (2 ), planning to work up slowly. The opponents do not believe you have such a good hand given your low start and let you play prematurely (doubled) when they should be bidding on.

With clubs bid at every level from One to Six and Diamonds Two to Six, West led the king of clubs v 6  doubled. “I should have redoubled, “said Jones as the paltry dummy was tabled. Rosen thought he had to be joking and you can only imagine his face as declarer was claiming 12 tricks two seconds later – his second club ruffed in dummy.

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