You’re probably familiar with the old bridge adage: ‘Never put down an 8-card suit in dummy’. If you’re lucky enough to be dealt such a hand — you’d better make sure you’re the one to set trumps. Of course, it does occasionally happen that your partner won’t stop bidding his own suit, forcing you to end up laying your beautiful hand on the baize like a corpse on a slab. In which case, be prepared for much joshing in the bar later.
However, I’m hardly one to talk, as the other day I did something far more outrageous with my beautiful 8-suiter — and I haven’t stopped being teased since. The event was the Ian Gardiner Teams of Four, and I was playing with my Scottish friend Paula Leslie. I picked up this hand: ♠Q32 ♦AKQJ10872, ♣J4. The opposition were vulnerable, and my left-hand opponent opened 1♠. Two passes to me… What would you bid? Here is the full deal: (see image).
I passed! I was convinced that EW could make game in hearts and that any interference from me would enable them to find their fit. As it happens I was right — but that doesn’t mean my pass wasn’t crazy. At another table, Janet de Botton, with the South hand, jumped to 3NT over West’s 1♠, and got the best result in the room when West led a spade. Others bid 5♦ and went down. We conceded 1♠. Whatever your view, I can tell you my pass caused an absolutely priceless reaction from both Paula and declarer after Paula led her singleton diamond, and I returned the suit only for declarer to ruff and Paula to overruff! It was worth it just to see their faces.