Seven No Trump. It’s a bid I pull out of the box as a joke. It’s so over the top. It never happens. Except it did – twice – on Thursday in a 5½-table game at the Airport Bridge Club.
The first grand slam, in fact, was 7 NT with two overtricks, if there had been a way to take them. There was no secret to the play, which was a lay-down from the opening lead. It was all in the bidding.
Sitting East, vulnerable, I was declarer and opened 1 Club. My partner, Barbara Libby, responded 1 Spade. I went to 2 NT, she came back with 4 Clubs Gerber, asking for Aces. My bid was 4 NT, showing three of them. She thought for a minute, then went straight to 7 NT. South’s opening lead was a Diamond. Here are the hands:
Spades: 8-7; Hearts: A-K-7; Diamonds: A-8; Clubs: A-Q-J-6-3-2.
Spades: A-K-Q-J-4-2; Hearts: 6; Diamonds: 10-2; Clubs: K-10-9-2.
Spades: 6-5; Hearts: J-10-5-3; Diamonds: J-9-5-4-3; Clubs: 7.
Spades: 10-9-3; Hearts: Q-9-8-4-2; Diamonds: Q-7-6; Clubs 8-4.
See what I mean? Six Spade winners. Same with Clubs. Plus one Diamond and two Hearts.
It was a top board for us. At the other four tables, East-West swept up 13 tricks, but didn’t bid it. Second best was 6 Spades, then 6 Clubs, 3 NT and, at the bottom, 5 Clubs.
A couple rounds later the good cards were on the other side of the table. Barbara and I were the North-South defenders as Wilson McClaren and Judi Marshall marched to 7 NT, not vulnerable. Here are the hands:
North: A-9-7; Hearts: A-K-Q-J-5; Diamonds: None; Clubs: A-Q-J-8-4.
Spades: None; Hearts: 8-6-2; Diamonds: A-K-Q-9-7-5-2; Clubs: K-9-7.
Spades: Q-J-10-6-3; Hearts: 10-9; Diamonds: J-10-8-6-4; Clubs: 6.
Spades: K-8-5-4-2; Hearts: 7-4-3; Diamonds: 3; Clubs: 10-5-3-2.
Wilson was the declarer. Barbara led a \Spade. It was another lay-down, except they had only 14 tricks – five Hearts, five Clubs, three Diamonds (they won’t run) and the Ace of Spades.
Every East-West took 13 tricks and Wilson and Judi tied for a top. Another pair also bid it. The other three tables bid small slams – two 6 NT, one 6 Hearts.