Although the bidding and making of games and slams is probably the primary objective of contract bridge, points can be thrown or sotolen in many ways. Competing properly for a part score knowing how and when to do so and when not to, must be part of the repertoire of any good bridge player.
Missing a game not vulnerable invoices a theoretical lose to you of about 200 to 300 points. Letting the opponent bid and make a part score when your side could have made the part score instead involtes almost as great a loss.
South’s failure to take proper competitive acction cost his side just such a lose:
West Dealer: Both sides vulnerable.
West opened the bidding with one club. North properly overcalled with one spade on his six card suit and East passed. It was at this point that South made his error.
Since his partner had done nothing but overcall at the one level. South decided that there could be no game in the hand for his side. Having made this observation—which was correct as far it went—South passed.
West bid two clubs and North being vulnerable, correctly refrained from rebidding two spades. When it came around to South again he was stuck for a bid. Raising spades on only the doubleton queen did not appeal to South and, with no other good bid available to him he finally decided to pass. West made his two club contract without difficulty by finessing against the trump queen, North-South, had they bid it could have made two spades equally easily.
South’s proper action would have been to bid one no trump over North’s spade bid on the first round. Even though he knew there was not game in the hand, he should have made this bid as a means of showing his partner that he has some I definite scattered strength and thus let him know that he would be safe in competing for the part score in his spade suit warranted it. Had South bid one no trump, North, would almost surely have decided to bid two spades over two clubs and the part score swing against the North-South team would not have ensued.