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"I feel like I'm diagonally parked in a parallel universe," Unlucky Louie told me. "When I have a judgment decision in the bidding, whatever I do is wrong."

Louie sat North (needless to say) in today's deal and wound up double-parked. When Louie heard his partner open 1NT, he passed, not wanting to scream before he was hurt. But East doubled, and two passes followed.

"Would you have run to two spades?" Louie asked me.

"Your hand should take a trick or two at spades," I replied cautiously, "but won't take any at notrump."

Louie slunk away, and I suspected he'd passed -- and had gotten a parking ticket. I got the full story from Ed, our best player, who'd been West. When Ed led a low heart against 1NT doubled, East won and shifted to the six of diamonds -- by no means an obvious play. Ed won and returned a diamond, and East rattled off five more diamonds as Ed pitched three clubs and a spade. Next came a heart, and Ed cashed the queen, king and eight. East threw the seven of spades.

South, with room for three cards, thought he'd better keep the K-Q of spades, hence he let go the K-Q-J of clubs. West then led a club, forcing out the ace, and when East took the ace of spades next, he had a club to cash. Down six, minus 1,700 points.

"If Louie runs to two spades," Ed sighed, "he may not even be doubled. Best defense beats him two tricks -- we can take three hearts and two diamonds, and then a third diamond from East lets me score the ten of trumps -- but Louie loses 200 points at worst."

South dealer

Both sides vulnerable

9 8 4 3 2
5 4 2
4 2
5 3 2
10 6 5
K Q 8 7
A 7
9 7 6 4
A 7
A 6 3
K Q 9 6 5 3
10 8
J 10 9
J 10 8
1 NTPassPassDbl
All Pass
Opening lead -- 7

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