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The Biggest Number I've Ever Seen

The story you are about to hear is true. The names have been changed to protect the innocent.

 

We've all seen it on BBO, a massive penalty usually resulting from either one player getting angry at their partner and bidding 7NT and redoubling, or someone intentionally losing all the tricks. Occasionally there is a huge number due to a catastrophic bidding accident, but these are extremely rare.

The following is to my knowledge, the biggest number I've ever seen that did not involve a spiteful bid, spiteful play, throwing the hand in, a psyche, nor a bidding misunderstanding, and had all players at the table trying their best.

 

The setting was a casual team match, I was playing with a talented young student.

So I am innocently sitting in the North seat holding:

North
Q974
742
KQ72
QJ
W
N
E
S
2NT
P
3NT
P
P
P

 

Partner's 2NT shows 19+-21, thus I opt for 3NT since we are in the "no trump zone" with 2 balanced hands, and I have no reason to feel like playing a suit would ever gain. The play was not particularly interesting, and she quickly scored up 11 tricks. I did not study the hands too much, figuring the board to be pretty flat. That's what I get for thinking.

 

So at the opposite table, the player holding my hand decided to use Stayman, and drives to slam after finding a spade fit. I don't agree with the 2NT opener's redouble, but I can hardly call that a spiteful bid. With 30 HCP and a 4-4 spade fit, they land into 6xx. And oh my... just how bad can things go...

Here is what happened.

West
3
AQ853
J98654
K
North
Q974
742
KQ72
QJ
East
10862
96
9876532
South
AKJ5
KJ10
A103
A104
W
N
E
S
 
2N
P
3
P
3
P
4N
P
5
P
6
X
XX
P
P
P
D
3
6XX South
NS: 0 EW: 0
5
2
2
3
2
0
1
9
K
A
2
0
0
2
J
7
6
A
2
0
3
6
J
Q
4
0
0
4
4
Q
8
10
2
0
5
2
4
K
J
0
0
6
3
7
10
10
2
0
7
3
10
3
Q
0
0
8
8
K
5
5
3
1
8
A
9
4
6
3
2
8
K
5 tricks claimed
N/S -3400
11

 

After a ruff, a , another ruff, a , a 3rd ruff, a to the stiff K, a 4th ruff, and a ruff coming back...

That would be 7 down and a score of -3400 if you're scoring at home, for a 23 imp swing! Aside from guessing the stiff K, declarer is helpless to avoid losing the first 8 tricks in his slam against best defense.

Barometer was on, so you can imagine my thoughts when 23 imps appeared on my scorecard. My initial reaction was: "alright, let's see which one of these retards threw the board so I can boot him." My shock was even greater when I realize no one intentionally went for that number, it was just a normal, albeit really bad, bridge result!

 

So there you have it! The biggest number I've ever seen that was an attempt at normal bridge. Anyone out there ever gotten a bigger one? :)

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