The latest craze at New York's famous Cavendish Club—newer even than Password, which the bridge addicts play for stakes in the club anteroom—is the team-of-four contest. Instead of forming two tables for regular rubber bridge, eight players choose up sides for a team match. The resulting lineups are the same kind of m�lange of expert and not-so-expert that used to develop when you chose up sides for a neighborhood baseball game in a vacant lot. The results are often just about as wild. A match is 12 hands and, although the stakes—which average $3 a point—sound high, the game is rarely more expensive than rubber bridge played at the club's customary 2� or 3� a point. The reason is that the team games are scored in International Match Points, which translate big swings into small numbers. But not even IMPs could minimize the cost of this recent deal.
South's pass of the six-spade bid was that rarity, a weak-sounding bid that is actually strong. In this kind of auction, where North-South appeared to have the stronger hands, South's pass was forcing. Had he held a losing spade in his hand, South would have been obliged to double six spades; his pass virtually announced his spade void and left it to partner whether to bid the grand slam or double.
North's seven-diamond bid was best with his hand. He knew his side controlled the first round of every suit, but he was not sure the hearts were solid. Had South held better clubs and less solid hearts, there was a possibility North could discard heart losers on whatever club strength South could offer. However, it was West who had the club strength, and he doubled South's correction of the contract to seven hearts because he thought the club ace would win a defensive trick. The club ace failed to live, and 13 tricks at hearts was a laydown. Honors don't count, but North-South had scored 2,470 points.
Meanwhile, their teammates at the other table were doing nearly as well. The bidding there went: