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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

14 Responses

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  1. A grand slam or a small slam, Brian? There’s a couple of ways of playing the Clubs for a small slam (two finesses through Weinstein’s hand or else finesse the Jack and fall back on a 3-3 split if that fails; I’m not sure which is the better play). But to get to 13 tricks, I think Clubs would have to behave a whole lot better than just “nice”. Or is there something I’m not seeing.

    Yeah, I’ve never heard of a Super Splinter either. Still, you would think that bid would have to be on their card or at least something the partnership had discussed. So without any other evidence, you’d have to blame Weinstein for that one. So what did they go down, 7?

    By the way, really hungry opening bid. I know the big boys like to be aggressive these days, but man, that’s opening light!

    Larry Levy

    June 4, 2008 at 7:49 pm

  2. [Rewritten after initially disagreeing with Larry]. Yup, the clubs look problematic unless as Larry says you finesse twice, or get a 3-3 break (and you still need to get lucky on the queen/ten location once). Small Slam is a gimme.

    But my god, how do you pass on 5H? That can’t be the right response, can it? You’ve got to think you don’t understand what he is saying and figure out something lower risk than passing, right?

    Can you imagine his partner’s expression when he said pass?

    Lou

    June 4, 2008 at 8:13 pm

  3. I lost the part where I disclaimed that I haven’t played bridge in about 10 years, so if (as is likely) I’m missing something, please explain in detail so I can learn.

    Lou

    June 4, 2008 at 8:17 pm

  4. “Nice” means, as always, “Does what needs to be done.”

    The clubs are 3-3 with the queen onside. (If clubs don’t break, then you also need the Q of diamonds to fall.) These boards were played in four rooms and Zia bid the grand in his room.

    The small slam almost always makes on the elimination, pull trump, ruff hearts twice, play DA, DK DJ. If the diamond queen falls (or east has it), then it’s over. If west has it, then slam is cold unless east has both the Queen and Ten of clubs.

    The actual contract was down six.

    I’ve seen several other bizarre hands. I don’t know if its just bizarreness, fatigue, system weirdness, or what. (Weinstein Gartner play Eastern Scientific with many transfers after 1C openings). See here. But things like getting passed in a 4-2 diamond fit (after balancing to save the opponents from playing in their 3-3 club fit).

    Brian

    June 4, 2008 at 8:42 pm

  5. “Zia bid the slam” should not be read to imply that being in the Grand was good, only to show that at least one table bid the grand slam. I think he was playing for a swing, but I wasn’t kibitzing his room.

    Brian

    June 4, 2008 at 8:46 pm

  6. “Zia bid the slam” should not be read to imply that being in the Grand was good, only to show that at least one table bid the grand slam. I think he was playing for a swing, but I wasn’t kibitzing his room.

    Brian

    June 4, 2008 at 8:46 pm

  7. But my god, how do you pass on 5H? That can’t be the right response, can it? You’ve got to think you don’t understand what he is saying and figure out something lower risk than passing, right?

    Can you imagine his partner’s expression when he said pass?

    You pass 5H if you think partner has
    K QJT9xxxx AK Kx (ish). I assume that’s what Weinstein was expecting … it was just a monumental misunderstanding.

    Brian

    June 4, 2008 at 8:49 pm

  8. Not quite a miracle needed for the grand.
    You need the club queen onside but after that you have lots of fallbacks:
    Clubs 3-3
    or
    Club ten doubleton
    or
    Diamond Queen doubleton
    or
    Diamond queen with club length

    Small slam makes if:
    Club finesse works
    or
    Club ten is doubleton
    or
    Clubs are 3-3
    or
    Diamond queen is with club length.

    That isn’t a gimme although it is much better than the grand and you certainly want to be there against opponents who won’t be declaring 5h.

    Michael

    June 5, 2008 at 10:29 am

  9. I would have thought the same as Weinstein, but looking at his hand it is almost an impossible bid right? To bid 5h with that meaning, his partner really shouldn’t have any outside losers. Given his two aces that means a double void in partners hand which are highly unlikely. It is hard to reconstruct a hand for partner that matches with that and doesn’t have concerns about a late diamond loser in addition to the heart suit given that he is missing the jack.

    Michael

    June 5, 2008 at 10:35 am

  10. I would have thought the same as Weinstein, but looking at his hand it is almost an impossible bid right? To bid 5h with that meaning, his partner really shouldn’t have any outside losers. Given his two aces that means a double void in partners hand which are highly unlikely. It is hard to reconstruct a hand for partner that matches with that and doesn’t have concerns about a late diamond loser in addition to the heart suit given that he is missing the jack.

    Michael

    June 5, 2008 at 10:35 am

  11. Obviously above diamond queen being singleton works as well as it being doubleton for both slams. Same thing with the club ten.

    Michael

    June 5, 2008 at 10:47 am

  12. 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

  13. The example hand with QJ10-long in hearts isn’t really a sensible case.

    True enough, but it was the best I could come up with. Exclusion Blackwood makes sense. I’ve never played it (I need to find a steady partnership before I can have such bidding disasters).

    Brian

    June 5, 2008 at 5:38 pm

  14. There is a hand where Weinstein’s interpretation makes sense: — QJ109xxxxx AKQx — or similar. That hand is very tough to bid; Howie’s posited methods would work beautifully.

    Exclusion has been around for a while and is a good source of really amusing expert catastrophes. Most have pretty much got Roman Key Card down. 30 years ago, there were all sorts of amusing cases where experts bid grands off the trump ace or the like because they didn’t agree on the trump suit for RKCB. Those don’t seem to happen much anymore. Instead, we have Exclusion and Kickback (where 4 of the trump suit plus one step is ace-asking instead of 4NT; the idea is that a 5S response (2 with) will then not get you too high) disasters! I remember a funny hand where a well-known pair (OK, one of us is well-known here!) bid a slam off two aces when each partner forgot Kickback on the same hand. Of course, the contract ended up making, which isn’t good behavior modification therapy!

    JeffG

    June 6, 2008 at 3:27 am


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