Zia Mahmood's Bridge column today relates an amusing tale of disaster at the World Championships. A player on the apparently very talented Netherlands ladies team, holding the following 6-3-2-2 hand:
♠ 7 5
♥ Q J 5
♦ J 4
♣ A K Q J 8 2
First of all managed to open a strong 1NT; and then, more astonishingly, refused to transfer to spades despite no less than 6 consecutive calls to transfer from her poor partner! (Follow the link for the full story.)
With partner holding 4 points, 7 spades and a singleton heart, the contract went 6 down in 4 hearts redoubled for a penalty of 3400, the largest ever recorded in world championship play.
My question is, this a world-class player we're talking about. Is there any logical reason why she should have so doggedly refused to transfer to spades? Did she take the heart bids literally? Did she think her hearts are that much better than her spades, even though partner is rightly rather insistent that hearts are a terrible suit to be in. So what could have been going on in South's mind? Or had she just been paid money to throw the World Championships? ;)