17th European Youth Bridge Team Championships
Wednesday, 12 July 2000

When is DOPI not a DOPE ?

Liz McGowan

Before entering this tournament the Scottish team had an extended training session on the internet with Mike Lawrence. He taught them to bid rather well. (A session on taking tricks might also have proved useful, but that is another story.)

One seminar on slam bidding included a few fine points on coping with interference over 4NT. Lawrence recommends DOPI (Double = 0 or 3 keycards, Pass = 1 or 4 keycards) when the interference is below the level of your trump suit. But when they bid your trump suit or higher, using more space, he suggests DOPE (Double = an Odd number of aces, Pass = an Even number). Very sophisticated.


Begson-McCrossan demonstrated just how much they have benefited from Mike’s teaching on this hand from their match against Denmark.


Round 8. Board 19. Dealer South. E/W Vul.
  ª K 6 4 3
© K Q J
¨ Q 7
§ Q 10 9 5
ª Q 7
© 6 5 2
¨ A 10 8 6 5 3 2
§ K
Bridge deal ª A J 10 8 5
© 7
¨ K J 9 4
§ A J 6
  ª 9 2
© A 10 9 8 4 3
¨ -
§ 8 7 4 3 2


West North East South
McCrossan Bergson
3¨ 3© 4NT 5©
Pass Pass 5NT Pass
6§ Pass 6¨ All Pass


Once McCrossan made a junior overcall of South’s junior weak two, Bergson was slamward bound, but he thought he should check on aces first. South tested the methods by bidding 5©, above the level of the trump suit. McCrossan’s pass therefore showed an even number of aces, so Bergson made a Grand Slam try.


Since the Scots were the only pair to reach slam on the board it was lucky that Bergson reigned in his enthusiasm enough to stop at the six-level when partner showed the king of clubs. He expected him to bid 7¨ if he had the king of spades also. Science is a wonderful thing.


In the other room the Danes stopped in a part score, so this was a convincing gain for Scotland. Great stuff. What had gone wrong?


McCrossan, who had missed the seminar on slam bidding, was playing unadulterated DOPI.


Conventions ~ who needs them?


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