One thing I regretted again and again at the Niagara Falls, Ont., Regional was the inability of me and my partners to bid and make slams. But that deficiency ended in a big way on Thursday at the Airport Bridge Club. Tom Koralewski, with whom I was playing for the first time, and I bid and made three of them en route to a superlative 63.69% effort. Second overall, we earned 2.08 points.
Two of the slams were small ones – 6 Spades, 6 No Trump. But one of them was grand and it came in the very first round. Board 5, North-South vulnerable, but not us in East-West. Tom opened a Heart. Holding 17 high card points, I went 2 Diamonds. If I recall correctly, he gave me 3 Clubs next.
Moments earlier, when we reviewed which conventions we played, we'd skipped over slam procedures. “I guess this is something we didn’t discuss,” I conceded, slapping down a 4 No Trump bid to ask for Aces. Tom thought for a minute and went 5 Diamonds. Hopefully, that’s one Ace. Terrific, I had the other three. On to 5 No Trump. Kings? He responded 6 Spades. OK, we have all the Aces and Kings. What the heck. 7 No Trump.
Spades: A-4; Hearts: A-5; Diamonds: A-8-6-5-3; Clubs: K-Q-9-6.
Spades: K-J; Hearts: K-Q-8-6-3; Diamonds: K-10-7; Clubs: A-J-2.
North (Eleanor Whelan)
Spades: Q-10-9-7-3-2; Hearts: 10-7-4; Diamonds: J; Clubs: 10-7-3.
South (Sharon Wilcox)
Spades: 8-6-5; Hearts: J-9-2; Diamonds: Q-9-4-2; Clubs: 8-5-4.
Eleanor led a Spade and I thanked Tom for the dummy. No question that we had two Spade tricks, four Clubs, the top two Diamonds and at least three Hearts. But that’s only 11. The other two would have to come from one of the long red suits. Best to test the Hearts first and see if the opposing hands split 3-3. Hallelujah. With five Heart tricks, I didn’t need to try for extra Diamonds, which would have been fatal.
At other tables, people stopped at 6 NT if they got to slam at all. One of them even went down one. Nobody else went all the way. According to the hand record (a new feature at the Airport Club and much appreciated), East-West can make three other slams – 7 Hearts, 6 Diamonds and 7 Clubs. But match-point-wise, why settle for less?