Susanna Gross

Bridge | 08 January 2022

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We’re all guilty of making silly mistakes at the bridge table and then hurriedly trying to explain them away — but what do you think was the most overused excuse of 2021? The answer has to be…‘Misclick!’ No wonder so few tournaments allow you to request an ‘Undo’ any more: too many players were claiming to have misclicked when they’d probably misplayed. People can still ask for an ‘Undo’ in the bidding, though, and that seems perfectly reasonable. Kibitzing one of the final online tournaments of last year, I saw such an unlikely bid that I immediately assumed it was a misclick — until I saw it was made by my friend Steve Root. Steve can never resist a good ‘psych’, and this one was hilarious to watch (see diagram).

East’s 2♣ was an artificial, strong bid, West’s 2◆ was a relay, and Steve’s 2♠ was a piece of outright mischief. What should East do to expose the ‘psych’? A forcing pass is probably best, or perhaps even a jump to 4♠. East decided to double, which West didn’t take as penalty — especially not after South raised to 3♠. West bid 4♣, whereupon East bid 4NT, intended as keycard Blackwood; West responded with 5NT, explained as ‘pick a slam’. East finally bid spades at the six-level, only for West to pull to 6NT. Steve doubled and East, thirsting for revenge, redoubled. West ran to 7♣, and when East bid 7♠ it was South who made the final double. As it happens, NS can make 5◆, but an 800 penalty was far juicier!