Friday, April 1, 2011

Bridge Blog 399: Too hot to handle

          “I’ll never have another hand like that in my life,” Mike Kisiel exclaimed Friday at the Airport Bridge Club and we all knew which one he was talking about. It was Board 31 on Thursday. The 31-point hand.
          For Flo Boyd and me, it was the very first hand of the day. Opponents were Judy Kaprove (North) and Jan Hasselback (South). North-South vulnerable. South is dealer and opens with a bid of 3 No Trump. Pass. Pass. Pass. I lead from my only four-card suit and within a couple plays of the cards, it’s a lay-down for 7 No Trump. Jan and Judy are baffled. How do you bid it, they wonder. Here are all four hands:

South (Jan)
Spades: A-K-3; Hearts: A-Q-6; Diamonds: A-K-Q-6; Clubs: A-K-Q.

West (me)
Spades: Q-10-2; Hearts: 9-7-5; Diamonds: J-10-7; Clubs: 9-8-5-2.

North (Judy)
Spades: 9-7-6; Hearts: K-10-4-3-2; Diamonds: 4-3; Clubs: J-4-3.

East (Flo)
Spades: J-8-5-4; Hearts: J-8; Diamonds: 9-8-5-2; Clubs: 10-7-6.

          We ask club manager Bill Finkelstein right away what should have been done. Three No Trump is a bad bid, he says, because there are more than 25 to 27 points. Better would be 2 Clubs (then, after partner’s 2 Diamonds waiting bid, go to 4 No Trump and then 5 No Trump, to ask for Kings). If that King shows up, then it's 7 NT. Or just open 5 No Trump.
          As it turns out, it’s a good hand for Flo and me – 6.5 points out of a possible 8. Only three other North-Souths failed to bid at least a small slam. Two of them (Mike Kisiel included) went all the way to 7 NT and scored the full 2,200 points. Worst outcome belonged to Lorna Brewer, who opened 1 Diamond and saw her partner, Nita Farrell, leave her there. She made only four overtricks.

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