Minus 1,000 -- no problem!

Author: Larry Cohen
Date of publish: 12/20/2015
Level: All Levels

On this deal from the 2015 NABC Senior Knockout Teams (in Denver), Bart Bramley had a chance to make 4♠XX:

Dir: N-S
♠ Q10986
♥ 8
♦ AQ
♣ Q10953
♠ 3
♥ --
♦ J10987653
♣ A642
  ♠ AK7542
♥ K752
♦ --
♣ K87
  ♠ J
♥ AQJ109643
♦ K42
♣ J

West opened 4♠, passed around to South (Bramley). He bid 4♠ and when this came to East, he doubled for penalty. North redoubled (not clear how he meant it), but there they rested. A diamond was lead and East ruffed. He laid down a high spade, all following. East now (reasonably) played a low spade. He didn't realize his partner had no trumps. Had Bramley discarded his club, he would have made 4!HXX for a whopping 1080! However, he didn't know the strange position. He trumped with the ♠HQ, played the ♠A and a high heart to East's king. Now a club to the ace enabled another defensive diamond ruff for down 2, -1000. Big swing? Yes, but not how you would expect.

This was the auction at the other table:

 Rodwell   Meckstroth  
5♠ Pass Pass 5♠
 Pass Pass Double Pass
Pass 5♠! Double All Pass

Yes, Meckstroth got to defend against 5SX. The play was bloody and ended up with a penalty of 1700 (down 6). So, Bramley won 12 imps for going down 1,000!