The Tao of Gaming

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Bridge Experts

Just watching the Vugraph for the USBF and saw the following amazing disaster.

Howard Weinstein opens 1 Spade with

 S: Axxxx
 H: xx
 D: J9x
 C: AJ9

Partner wheels out a 5 Heart bid.

After careful consideration, Weinstein passes. Apparently he thought he was being asked to bid 6 hearts with a top heart.

Gartner held

 S: KQJTxx
 H:
 D: AKx
 C: Kxxx

As it turns out, the grand slam makes when clubs behave nicely.

One day I hope to be good enough to have my bridge lessers make snarky comments about my bidding disasters. To be fair to Weinstein, I’ve never heard that auction and “Super Splinter” wouldn’t be the first thing to pop into my head.

Update: Michael points out this page, positing the Law of Total Trumps (“You should have more trumps than they do”) and showing numerous violations at high levels.

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Written by taogaming

June 4, 2008 at 6:51 pm

Posted in Bridge

2 Responses

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  1. I’m sorry, Brian, I misread your sentence. I thought you were saying that Grand Slam was a good bid, as it makes if Clubs behave nicely, not that it winds up making because they behaved nicely. Small Slam is where you want to be on this hand. Grand Slam requires a small miracle (something like an 18% chance), which is what wound up happening.

    Larry Levy

    June 4, 2008 at 11:57 pm

  2. Garner thought 5H was Exclusion Roman Key Card Blackwood, which asks for key cards (aces and the king of trumps) outside of hearts (in this case), because it promises a void. This kind of disaster isn’t all that uncommon, sadly, as Exclusion comes up rarely enough that it’s hard to come up with solid agreements exactly when it is on. With one of my partners, our agreement is, “when the janitor can tell it’s Exclusion,” and frankly, I think this is one of those. I guess our janitors are pretty good bridge players 🙂 I also think I shall check with him to see if he agrees! With one partner, I have an express agreement in our notes that this sequence is Exclusion.

    The example hand with QJ10-long in hearts isn’t really a sensible case. Firstly, responder has other problems like missing aces, and secondly, he can probably check for key cards to find the high hearts after setting hearts as trumps. This may depend on system, but if you have a strong jump shift, you can check on key cards via 1S-3H; 3S-4NT. On the other hand, the direct 5H is probably wrong depending on your methods, too. Firstly, even if you have all the key cards outside of hearts, do you know what to do? Secondly, one should be able to support spades (perhaps via 2NT) and then bid exclusion. The only difficult case is if partner has a minimum with no shape (if you play basic Jacoby 2NT) and bids 4S over 2NT. And that’s really not so bad, as you will bid slam anyway, and live with being off two aces once in a while, which is pretty unlikely. On the other hand, if partner bids anything else other than 4H, your 5H jump is unmistakeable.

    The grand is below par, but not really terrible. Draw trumps while ruffing two hearts, take the club finesse, cash the CA, and cash the DAK (a Vienna Coup). Then run all the trumps. You make if the CQ is onside AND if (clubs are 3-3 OR the club Q10 drops doubleton (yeah, right) OR the DQ drops doubleton OR stiff 10 on your right OR the player with the DQ also has four clubs (he’ll be squeezed)). That’s about 35% (including the club hook). The C8 would help a little. (You can then pick up stiff queen onside in exchange for Q10 doubleton. He should fly queen from that holding, and then you blow to the ten on the second round, though you might go for the squeeze instead.)

    JeffG

    June 5, 2008 at 12:32 pm


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