Bridge: Sept. 3, 2023

Bridge: Sept. 3, 2023

“If you don’t know where you are going, any road will get you there.” — Lewis Carroll

“How many times have you bid to the best contract,” a club player asked me, “while having no idea what you were doing?”

He showed me today’s deal.

“In a penny game, my partner and I got to 6NT. I opened two clubs and jumped to 3NT to show 25 to 27 points, balanced. He next bid four clubs. He thought that was Stayman; I thought it was the Gerber ace-asking convention, so I replied four diamonds, showing, I thought, all four aces. We still landed on our feet; he bid 6NT.”

“I believe many pairs would treat a bid of four clubs as Gerber,” I said, “and four diamonds as Stayman. It’s a matter of partnership agreement. Did you make your slam?”

“We ran out of luck in the play,” my friend said ruefully. “West led the queen of diamonds. I won with the ace, unblocked my A-Q of spades, led a club to dummy’s king and cashed the K-J of spades, pitching a low diamond and a low heart.

“Next I took the A-Q of clubs. When West discarded, I conceded the fourth club to East. I set up my fifth club, but spades had split 5-2, and East had a spade to cash. It was mighty unlucky that he happened to hold five spades as well as four clubs.”

I had to tell my friend that 6NT was makeable. After he takes the A-Q of spades, he can take out insurance by playing a low club from both hands. He wins East’s heart shift, leads a club to the king, takes the A-Q of spades and wins the rest without difficulty.

South dealer

N-S vulnerable


S K J 6 3

H 6 4 3

D 7 4 3 2

C K 4


S 5 4

H Q J 10 7

D Q J 10 9 8

C 7 3


S 10 9 8 7 2

H 9 8 2

D 5

C J 10 9 8



H A K 5

D A K 6

C A Q 6 5 2

South West North East
2 C Pass 2 D Pass
3 NT Pass 4 C Pass
4 D Pass 6 NT All Pass
Opening lead — D Q

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