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Aggressive Bidding Pays Off

  by Richard Pavlicek

Julian Gabbai of Ft. Lauderdale is a successful businessman. As the owner of an accounting firm, he is not able to devote a lot of time to playing bridge. Nevertheless, one could hardly distinguish him from the “old pro” when he goes into action at the bridge table. Gabbai is a clever, resourceful player and has the knack to win.

Gabbai took a day off last Saturday to play in the Open Pairs at the Palm Beach Sectional Bridge Tournament. This two-session event was a difficult contest, as the field included top-ranked players from all over the South Florida area. Anxiety was high as players waited for the final scores to be posted, and yes, you guessed it — Gabbai topped the leader board. Today’s deal contributed to his victory.

4 S South
None Vul
S 9
H 9 8 7 6 4
D K Q 10 8 6
C Q 2
2 H
3 D
1 C
2 S
4 S
S 7 6 4 2
H Q 5 3
D J 9 4
C J 8 3
TableS K 5
H K J 10
D A 7 3
C K 9 7 5 4

Lead: C 3
S A Q J 10 8 3
H A 2
D 5 2
C A 10 6

Gabbai’s jump response of two hearts was well judged. If partner held a typical takeout double (with support for both majors), his hand was worth far more than its 7 HCP. The trick-taking potential of a distributional hand is quite high when a good trump fit exists.

On this occasion his partner’s takeout double was based on a spade suit and a hand too strong for an immediate overcall. Some players might have chickened out and passed two spades, but Gabbai kept the ball rolling with three diamonds. His partner, Roger Jourdan of Delray Beach, quite reasonably closed out the bidding by jumping to game in his self-sufficient trump suit.

Four spades is an optimistic venture, but not without chances. Its fate was quickly decided when West routinely led a club, the suit bid by partner. Declarer played low from dummy and captured the nine with the 10 (playing the king would not have helped the defense). After ruffing his club loser in dummy, declarer easily made his contract, losing only one spade, one heart, and one diamond.

Lucky? Not really. Aggressive bidding is rewarded more often than not. Bridge tournaments are usually won by the bold, not the meek. As for Gabbai, it’s back to the office for a while — at least until the next bridge tournament comes around.

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© 1984 Richard Pavlicek