Webmaster for this site : Barry Jones
There are many points of discussion on the featured hand from a pairs event. West, holds only a poor 16 hcp and may well have passed, but it was pairs. Many experts suggest a Pass when holding a hand such as East's (West may have the beating of 1NT on his own) and only to remove the double when holding a 5 card suit. However...
When South came in with a free bid of 2 (it would be difficult for West to double for penalties with a Jack high suit at best) West bid 3C, "knowing" that his partner had next to no points - very dangerous.
South really wanted to double for penalties, but felt he would get a good score from 100 points a trick when the opponents went down. The defence were merciless but slipped at the last and did not quite extract the maximum penalty without a double.
The Lead of the K asked North for his count in Hearts. When the A was played, North played his lowest Heart again, this time suggesting a Diamond switch. South cashed third Heart and played 9. North won Q and cashed A before giving South a ruff with 5 (highest remaining asking for a Spade return). When the Spade was played, North won Q and A before playing his 4th Diamond, ruffed by East and overruffed with 10.
A Heart return at this point from South would have promoted North's J to be the 10th trick for the defense and +600 for 3-6 ! But South slipped, played a Spade and had to be happy for +500 and a "top".
South shoud have doubled for penalties. With a sound lead (A then K), more than the balance of hcp (21, and maybe 23!) and all cards sitting badly for East a sound penalty looked on the cards. +1700 was available.
West was wrong for bidding 3. His double was dubious; even if his partner held Q there may only be 6 tricks for E/W in defense against 1NT.
If there had not been a double from West then N/S would have registered a quiet +120 (1NT+1). If West had not bid 3 the score would only be +110 (2=).
If East had not bid 2C, then 1NTx +1 would only have been +380. Sometimes, it pays to take your medicine and go quietly.