In an early book on the subject of contract bridge Ely Culbertson wrote, "The purpose of a penalty double is to defeat the opponents' contract and collect the maximum number of points in undertrick penalties." That definition is not only short and clear; it places the twin aims of a penalty double in the proper order of importance.

Somehow, that order has become reversed in the lexicon of the average modern player. Often he is so intent on making a killing that he overlooks the prime target: to defeat the contract.

The moral of the following hand might be, "It does not pay to be greedy." This is not the moral, because both sides were guilty of greed, and that sin penalized one of them. The "justice," if any, is that victory went to the side best able to exploit the avarice of the other. South's bidding was outrageously greedy. Granted, he knew from North's rebid of clubs that his partner had a long suit and a better-than-minimum hand (else North would have rebid two no trump in response to South's jump takeout). South also knew, from North's Blackwood responses, that North held one ace and two kings. But that still left two kings missing, and thus 13 cold tricks were not in sight.

As for West, he could assume that at least one of his kings must be safe, since North had only one ace behind him, but nothing except greed (or unrestrained enthusiasm) can explain West's double of the grandslam contract.

In essence, this double told declarer that both of the missing kings were off-side. True, there are few players astute enough to profit from such information, but South happened to be one of them.

Normally, South might well have run off his four diamonds and six clubs, planning to guess which finesse to take at the end, spades or hearts, but with the near certainty that both kings were wrong, South made a shrewd adjustment. After cashing the four diamond tricks and discarding a heart from the table, South laid down the spade ace. He then cashed the club ace, overtook the club jack and ran the rest of the clubs, discarding his own 5 and queen of spades and two hearts.

West, finally having to reduce to two cards, was over a barrel. He had to keep the spade king against dummy's jack, hence was forced to blank his heart king. Thereupon, sticking to his original sound assumption that West would not have doubled without the two kings, declarer led the heart directly to his own ace and the grand slam became a fait accompli.

The line of play South employed is known as the Vienna Coup. This involves the deliberate setting up of a trick for an opponent and then squeezing him out of it. Note that South cannot bring off a squeeze against West without cashing the spade ace before running the long club suit. Otherwise, South himself cannot discard profitably on the club suit—whichever suit he kept, spades or hearts, West would keep over him.

EXTRA TRICK
Before you double the opponents, think of the odds. In this case, West lost 2,490 points by an action that could not gain more than 100—not a sound investment.

ILLUSTRATION

Both sides vulnerable North dealer

NORTH

[Jack of Spades]
[2 of Spades]
[7 of Hearts]
[4 of Hearts]
[King of Clubs]
[Queen of Clubs]
[9 of Clubs]
[7 of Clubs]
[3 of Clubs]
[2 of Clubs]
[Ace of Diamonds]
[King of Diamonds]
[3 of Diamonds]

WEST

[King of Spades]
[10 of Spades]
[8 of Spades]
[7 of Spades]
[6 of Spades]
[4 of Spades]
[3 of Spades]
[King of Hearts]
[6 of Hearts]
[10 of Clubs]
[5 of Clubs]
[10 of Diamonds]
[6 of Diamonds]

SOUTH

[Ace of Spades]
[Queen of Spades]
[5 of Spades]
[Ace of Hearts]
[Queen of Hearts]
[9 of Hearts]
[2 of Hearts]
[Ace of Clubs]
[Jack of Clubs]
[Queen of Diamonds]
[Jack of Diamonds]
[9 of Diamonds]
[8 of Diamonds]

EAST

[9 of Spades]
[Jack of Hearts]
[10 of Hearts]
[8 of Hearts]
[5 of Hearts]
[3 of Hearts]
[8 of Clubs]
[6 of Clubs]
[4 of Clubs]
[7 of Diamonds]
[5 of Diamonds]
[4 of Diamonds]
[2 of Diamonds]

NORTH

1 [Club]
3 [Club]
5 [Diamond]
6 [Heart]
PASS

EAST

PASS
PASS
PASS
PASS
PASS

SOUTH

2 [Heart]
4 NT
5 NT
7 NT
PASS

WEST

PASS
PASS
PASS
DBL

Opening lead: diamond 10

HOLE YARDS PAR R1 R2 R3 R4
OUT
HOLE YARDS PAR R1 R2 R3 R4
IN
Eagle (-2)
Birdie (-1)
Bogey (+1)
Double Bogey (+2)