Is it my imagination, or are we bridge players far more aggressive than we were a decade ago? I don’t mean our general behaviour — though that’s probably the case too. I’m talking about the way we bid. Finally, it seems, we’ve caught up with what the stars of the game have been doing for ages: fearlessly pushing opponents around when at ‘favourable’ vulnerability (green vs red). Such is the modern game: bid to the hilt and make them guess!
All this wildly aggressive bidding means that when we in turn are vulnerable, we often need to be far bolder than feels comfortable if we don’t want to be bullied out of our contracts. I very much enjoyed hearing about this deal from the recent South West Pacific Teams in Australia. South was the professional player Liam Milne, and he just wasn’t in the mood to be shoved around:
Most players would double and take the money. But Milne was sure slam was possible, and decided that if East was even more sure, North must have a strong hand for his double. So he bid a fearless 7♣. West led the ♦K. When dummy came down, Milne took a brilliant view: that East must have four diamonds and a singleton or void somewhere to have leapt to 6♦; and unless West had opened 3♦ with a 5-card major, East’s shortage had to be in clubs. So he won with the ♦A and cashed the ♣A. When East played the ♣Q he continued with the ♣10, finessing West’s ♣J. He drew the last trump, cashed the ♥A, and when West’s ♥Q fell, he was home.