Winning bridge is about more than bidding well or playing well. There is another element to which all players should relate. It is worthwhile that you do something technically good and equally worthwhile if you can steal something. Obviously, this is more important when playing duplicate. The bidding is as given, and it is your turn to make a decision.
East opened with a weak two bid, and South correctly passed. West raised to three hearts, which was passed back to South. West’s raise is not invitational but designed to further pre-empt.
If South refuses to be robbed, he will re-open with a takeout double. This is not as foolish as it looks. If West had opened with a bid of three hearts and that was passed to South, South could re-open with a double. It is a close decision, but experience has shown that courage in these decisions is more rewarding than a risk-free lifestyle. The key is that South has excellent distribution. His shape is more important than his high-card count.
If South had one less spade and the king of hearts, it would be wiser to pass three hearts than to double.
On the actual hand, however, South’s double gets North to bid three spades. North has a good hand but remembers that South passed over two hearts. The result is that North makes three spades, even with the bad distribution. Had South passed, East likely would make three hearts. Or, if West decided to bid four hearts, North-South would set the contract and receive a good result.
Sometimes, you have to take chances when playing bridge, and this looks like a good one to take.
Donna Swan is a resident of Longboat Key, an ardent bridge player and an American Contract Bridge League certified director who plays “for the fun of it.”