Collings Psyche
By Mark Horton

Psychic Bids are a perfectly legitimate tactic, but they have a horrible habit of rebounding on their perpetrators.

This classic case occurred in the 1965 European Championships in the match between Great Britain and Germany.

Dealer West.
East-West Game.

Q 5 2
8 3
Q 10 9 4 3
10 7 3
A K 9 3
J 8 7 4
K Q 10 2
A J 6 5 4
A K 8 7 2
J 5
J 9
10 6
9 7
A K Q 8 6 5 4 2

West North East South
Deneke Cansino Chodziesner Collings
2 Pass 2 4
5NT 7 Pass Pass
Dbl All Pass    

John Collings, one of those players blessed (or perhaps cursed) with a vivid imagination, decided to try and disrupt his opponents auction with a psychic overcall at the four level. Well, at least he wasn't vulnerable!

With a huge fit for his partner's suit, West, confident that there would be no spade losers, gambled on his partner being able to control the third round of diamonds, and used the Grand Slam force to make sure there was no trump loser. When Jonathan Cansino mysteriously bid Seven Spades, Collings had nowhere to go.

Clearly, declarer can be held to one trick, but West led the ace of diamonds, and then played a heart. East won, and played a club for his partner to ruff. West tried a cunning nine of spades, but declarer went up with dummy's queen and ruffed a diamond. He eventually came to a diamond trick, so he was only ten down, -1900 on the scoring scale in force at the time.

The British non-playing captain was so incensed by Collings effort, that he declared that he would never play for his country again. The irrepressible John replied by pointing out that only he could have made three tricks in Seven Spades!