Streak week’s most memorable hand was a fluke, right from the start, and since it turned up during the ACBL International Fund Game on Thursday, we can go straight to the hand records for Board 13. I’m sitting North, both pairs are vulnerable and I’m the dealer. Here’s my holding:
Spades: J-3-2; Hearts: K-3; Diamonds: None; Clubs: A-K-10-8-7-5-4-3.
Eight-card Club suit. Could be eight tricks off the top, if I’m lucky and nobody has a third Club. And you have to figure on at least one trick in the dummy or, if you’re really, really lucky, from the King of Hearts. So I open with a gambling 3 No Trump.
I love the gambling 3 No Trump. It screws up the opponents’ bidding and, if everybody passes, it gives them no clue about what to lead. But, alas, I have not discussed this bid at all with partner Dianne Bloom. Allen Beroza, sitting East, passes. Dianne passes. Jerry Geiger, who’s been a mentor to Dianne, asks what that 3 NT bid means and she says, she’s not sure, but I probably have 25 to 27 points.
Jerry says something about this being a 50-point hand, but since he’s West, the opening lead isn’t his. Allen puts down the Ace of Hearts and Dianne lays out these cards:
Spades: K-9-8-5; Hearts: 5; Diamonds: A-Q-J-9-7-6-2; Clubs: 2.
The endless Club suit creates an excruciating squeeze. I watch Allen and Jerry’s pitches and shorten the dummy accordingly. A little light bulb goes on when I see Jerry jettison the Queen of Spades, so I keep the King of Spades and Ace-Queen of Diamonds in the dummy and exit my hand with the only suit that’s left – a Spade. Jerry wins the Ace, but he’s kept Diamonds and he’s end-played. Making 5 No Trump.
Allen calls the director, but gets no satisfaction. Although the bid was not part of an agreement between me and Dianne, Bill Finkelstein said it was part of my unpredictability and he allowed it. It was a top board.
Here are the other hands and the ACBL commentary:
Spades: 10-6; Hearts: A-Q-10-9-5-4-2; Diamonds: 10-3; Clubs: Q-9.
Spades: A-Q-7-4; Hearts: J-8-7; Diamonds: K-8-5-4; Clubs: J-6.
“With all the seven-card and eight-card suits, six-card suits hardly look rebiddable. Say North opens 1 Club, declining to preempt because he has defensive values. If East passed or overcalled 1 Heart or 2 Hearts (2-7-2-2 pattern is the least attractive to preempt), North-South might take a small minus at a minor-suit partial.
“But if East puts it up to 3 Hearts, South will have a problem if he tries 4 Diamonds or a negative double. North-South will probably play at the five level. If North plays 5 Clubs doubled, perfect defense, starting with a Spade opening lead, will collect +800 and N-S may score plenty of match points if they escape for minus 200.
“We doubt that any East will play 4 Hearts, but a pretty defense would beat him: South leads a Club to the King and North returns the 2 of Clubs (that’s what it says, but let’s make it the 3 of Clubs), letting South ruff and shift to the Ace and Queen of Diamonds.”