Bid a big hand to its limit, even if partner is passing. I used to bid conservatively in hopes of winning a contract at a low level. No more after the night of August 25.

I was sitting North-South with Linda Schapiro, East was dealing and both sides were vulnerable at the Island Bridge Club:

NORTH (Kaplan)
♠ 6 5 3
♥ 8
♦ Q 10 9 5 4 2
♣ 9 8 7

WEST               EAST
♠ A 4                 ♠ J 7
♥ 10 6 4 2         ♥ J 9 5 3
♦ K J 8 3           ♦ A 6
♣ K J 10           ♣ Q 6 4 3 2

SOUTH (Schapiro)
♠ K Q 10 9 8 2
♥ A K Q 7
♦ 7
♣ A 5

The bidding proceeded as follows:

East           South          West           North
Pass           1♠                DBL          Pass
2♥              3♠               Pass            4♠
All Pass
Opening lead: ♥2

When Linda jumped to 3 ♠ , my puny holding perked up. Seeing the possibility of ruffing hearts, supporting spades and maybe winning a trick in diamonds, I had an easy decision about raising to game. Linda cashed three hearts, discarding two clubs from dummy, played the club ace and ruffed a club in dummy. Then she led a trump to the king and ace. Back came another trump to the jack and queen. In the end Linda banked 10 tricks with losers in spades, hearts and diamonds. Only two other pairs — the distinguished company of Rachel Alpert-Barbara McLagan and Deirdre Ling-Ed Russell — bid and made 4♠.

Ling and Russell got a top-board 11 tricks with some nifty brinksmanship strategy. Cash three hearts, discarding two clubs, assume (hold your breath) that hearts break 4-4 and ruff declarer’s fourth heart. Now lead a club to the ace and ruff a club before tackling trump.

Of most importance, all three Souths were willing to bid aggressively whether or not they got support from partner.

This is my last bridge column for 2016. Have a great off-season, and feel free to contact me at