Effective competitive bidding is essential for success at Duplicate Pairs, and also to achieve a dominating presence at social forms of the game . . . 

Dealer: West
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West opened a 15-17pt 1NT; East transferred to show five or more spades. To double a low-level conventional bid is usually played to show five or more of the suit used. West completed the transfer, but South was most reluctant to leave East-West at the 2-level. He competed with 3D, and North corrected to 3H.

At that point, East should bid 3S. West freely completed the transfer — after South’s intervening double, this was optional — and this promised three-card support. When 3H became the contract, North-South were booked for a good score, since 3S is making, but South gilded this competitive lily.

West led ♣AK and switched to 3♠, East winning and returning 10♠. South won, and led 6♥, which West ducked. On the second round of trumps, West won perforce, and found himself embarrassed. He tried a third spade. Declarer pitched a diamond from dummy and ruffed in his own hand. K♦, A♦ and a third diamond ruffed in dummy sorted out the suit. South returned to hand with a club ruff, drew the final trump and laid down 10♦ as his ninth trick. Excellent competition — and some naivety from the defence — scored North-South 100 per cent.

Paul Mendelson’s new book, ‘The Joy of Bridge’, is out now

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