It is one of the great charms of bridge that all the science in the world is impotent against the workings of a certain type of magic which the tyro will sometimes wield. The deal shown below was played in a tournament sometime ago, and the West hand was held by the author, who, be it known, cannot give more than rueful approval of results achieved with the aid of fortune rather than judgment. North and South were a pair of charming ladies who professed to be readers of mine. The bidding indicated below, believe it or not, actually took place.
The opening bid, the response and the rebid to three clubs were right out of the book. North's bid of three diamonds was certainly the best available. It provided partner with an opportunity to bid for game at no trump if he had spades guarded. This seemed much more desirable than trying for 11 tricks with such an evenly balanced hand. South's next call of three hearts is a choice of the experts. It can hardly denote' a genuine heart suit, which would have been shown long before. It simply throws the choice back to North to try no trump, if he has some sort of spade stopper, or to bid for game in a minor suit if he thinks sufficient values are held. However, North had got into the swing of raising partner and went to four hearts. South at this point got rather tired of bidding and passed.
The 8 of spades was opened by West and two tricks cashed in the suit. On the spade continuation South ruffed-with the 4. This was overruffed with the 5, but there were no more tricks for the defense. It will be noted that a five-club contract would have been doomed to failure, because on the third round of spades South would be obliged to ruff high and thus establish a trump trick for West.
At the conclusion of the hand South turned to me with the comment, "I tried to bid the hand the way you do. I remembered that you don't like any of the conventions but. show your aces on good hands. Did I bid it well?"
I was too depressed at the contemplation of our score to think up any witticism of my own, so I borrowed one from Sidney Lenz, "Angels could have done no more."