With a Beautiful Turn of Phrase by Phillip Alder

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My favorite bridge writer is Albert Dormer.

Phillip Alder and Ted Baldwin
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Ocala Star-Banner – Jan 27, 1998

Albert Dormer

Albert Dormer

My favorite bridge writer is Albert Dormer. Seemingly a confirmed Londoner (despite a short sojourn in New York in 1964-1965 to work for the American Contract Bridge League), a few years ago he moved to the wilds of Scotland.

He drew my attention to this deal from a European Championship match, which he wrote up for The Times newspaper in London.

East hand: K 8 A 9 8 6 A K 9 7 K 5 3

The bidding:

West North East South
      1
2 3 3NT Pass
Pass 4
Double
All Pass
       

The dealer on your left opens one spade, your partner overcalls 2, and your right-hand opponent jumps pre-emptively to three spades.

It’s your first opportunity, yet the bidding is nearing the four level and you have 17 points in aces and kings.

The player with these cards bid 3NT probably thinking that even if his partner was having a little joke, nine tricks should be available.

Fine, but after two passes, North continued with four spades. dor 1

Dormer wrote: “East doubled, expecting a king’s ransom”. However, as you can see, declarer had no trouble in winning 10 tricks, when he worked out — no great mental feat this given the three-no-trump bid —to take the spade finesse.

At the other table. North leapt immediately to four spades. East doubled, so it was a flat board. Each East shook his head in amazement when he saw that seven clubs was makable.

Dormer, summed it up well: “When three players are bidding vigorously, the fourth player with a strong balanced hand, should proceed with caution. The others may all have freak distributions. It will often be better to support partner than to double for penalty”

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