It was a hand that people kept talking about all day Tuesday at the Airport Bridge Club. Board 3, which Barbara Sadkin and I played in the second round against Marietta Kalman and Dottie Soong. East-West is vulnerable, South is the dealer. I’m South with this hand:
Spades: A-Q-J; Hearts: A-K-8-7-6
Diamonds: J-6; Clubs: Q-10-5
I don't hesitate to open 1 No Trump with a five-card major suit, so that’s just what I did. Barbara, with a devilish smile, jumps to 4 Clubs. Gerber, asking for Aces. Then she goes 5 Clubs, asking for Kings. And then, with a bit of gambler’s glee, she plunks down the 7 No Trump card. Needless to say, I’m blown away.
Dottie, sitting West, leads the Queen of Hearts and Barbara puts down this collection of cards:
Spades: 8-7; Hearts: 10-2
Diamonds: A-K-Q-10-4; Clubs: A-K-J-6
Wow! I count my sure tricks. Five Diamonds, four Clubs, two Hearts and the Ace of Spades. Can I get a third Heart trick? Not likely. Dottie’s lead indicates she has the Jack of Hearts and it’s not a doubleton. So the 13th trick is going to have to be a Spade. A Spade finesse. If it doesn’t work – down one. So I run out 11 winning tricks and wind up in the dummy to lead a Spade through Marietta. She plays the 10. I put down the Queen. It holds. I start breathing again.
Here are the other hands:
Spades: K-10-5-3-2; Hearts: 5-3
Diamonds: 7-5-3-2; Clubs: 9-4
Spades: 9-6-4; Hearts: Q-J-9-4
Diamonds: 9-8; Clubs: 8-7-3-2
All the other eight tables played it at 6 No Trump, making an overtrick. Ours was the only grand slam. Director Paula Kotowski kept coming over to us and updating us on how nobody else was bidding it.
When the game was over, Paula added that she was giving everyone a black star for the way they entered that hand on the traveling score slip. Every single North, including Barbara, put the winning numbers in the East-West column.
The slam upstaged my other amazing hand for the day, which came a few minutes earlier in the first round. I opened 1 Spade on an iffy point count and a six-card Spade suit headed by the 9. Barbara, holding an opening hand and A-Q-x in Spades, jumped to 4 Spades. Bid and made. Top board. Nobody else found it.
Our freewheeling ways proved rewarding for a change: 53.01%, third North-South and first in the B strat in our direction. 1.42 points. Total for the month is now an estimated 9.32. Looks like a double-digit October after all.