Bridge By The Lake
By Ken Masson

     (Ed. Note: This is a test-run to see if there might be a sufficient readership for an ongoing column about bridge. Its writer, Ken Masson, has been playing, teaching and writing about bridge for 35 years. Originally from Dublin, Ireland, Ken had lived in Toronto since 1967. He and his wife and bridge partner, Rosemarie, are now in their third year wintering in Lakeside. Welcome, Ken!)
     Bridge-playing residents and visitors to Lakeside have a ready-made outlet for indulging in their favorite addiction: The Lake Chapala Duplicate Bridge Club, near the Maskaras Clinic in Riberas.  Four open games and one "99er" game are held each week.  A friendly welcome is guaranteed to all newcomers.
     My wife, Rosemarie, and I didn’t receive the friendliest defense on this hand we played recently at the club.  As South, I opened the bidding 2 clubs to show a strong hand and Lee Dorsey, West, overcalled 2 diamonds using the vulnerability to his advantage to try to make life difficult for his opponents.  As North-South were vulnerable and East-West were not, it was very unlikely that his bid would result in a penalty greater than what North-South could make.

     North had a better than usual hand facing a 2 club opener and bid a natural 3 clubs. East passed and South bid his spade suit. West passed and North showed her second suit, hearts. While it appeared that the partnership had sufficient points to investigate a slam contract, South was concerned about his holding of 2 small diamonds.  To pinpoint the problem, South now bid 5 spades asking North to bid on if she held first or second round control in diamonds.  She did not and 5 spades became the final contract.
     Now West, the opening leader, had been paying attention to the bidding.  North-South had shown a lot of strength yet had failed to reach the slam zone. Lee deduced the situation correctly and so he laid down the ace of diamonds. His partner, Michael Closs, made the spectacular play of the king of diamonds and Lee had no problem in continuing the suit to hold declarer to 11 tricks.
     This turned out to be a very good result for East-West as without the ace of diamonds lead, 13 tricks are easy. In fact, two pairs did reach slam and made it, while most of the other pairs in 4 spades made all the tricks because the Wests did not find the best lead for their side.
     North-South were left to ponder the advisability of using too much science in their bidding.  Smoothly bidding either 6 spades or 6 clubs could have produced a far more desirable result but we will never know for sure!
     Questions or comments: email: masson.ken@gmail.com