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Slam Succeeds — Game Fails

  by Richard Pavlicek

A three-day bridge tournament was held in Cocoa Beach over the Memorial Day weekend. Gracie Gabbai, Julian Gabbai, and Bill Passell of Ft. Lauderdale took top honors, winning two of the three events to be decided. They captured the Flight A Swiss Teams and the Open Swiss Teams. Today’s deal is from the latter.

When Gracie Gabbai, South, passed in second seat, she never dreamed she would become declarer in six clubs; but stranger things have happened at the bridge table.

6 C South
N-S Vul
S A K J 9 7 3
D A 6 4
C A K 3

1 H

2 H
3 H
6 C
2 C
2 NT
4 C
H Q J 7 6 3
D K J 8 3
C J 10 6
TableS 10 8 6 5 4
H 10 9 2
D 9 7 5
C Q 9

Lead: S Q
S 2
H K 8 5 4
D Q 10 2
C 8 7 5 4 2

West tried to muddy the water with a light opening bid, North doubled, and South was obliged to bid her club suit. North cue-bid hearts to show a strong hand, then South bid two notrump to show a heart stopper. North persisted with another cue-bid and South was forced to bid again. Realizing her partner was not interested in notrump, Gabbai found the key bid — she rebid her clubs to show a five-card suit. This was all North needed to hear to bid the slam.

The play was routine for a skillful player. West led the spade queen to dummy’s king, and the two top clubs were cashed. Gabbai then led the spade ace and discarded a diamond as West ruffed with his natural trump trick. The heart return went to dummy’s ace, and the spade jack was cashed for a heart discard.

The play continued: spade ruff; heart king; heart ruff; spade ruff; then a diamond to dummy’s ace. The sixth spade was now good and provided a discard for South’s last loser. It made no difference if West postponed ruffing with his club jack; declarer would just go about her business of establishing the spades and West could take his trump trick whenever he wanted.

Bidding and making six clubs was especially gratifying to the Gabbai team since the contract at the other table was four spades, down one. The mighty oak fell to the little acorn!

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© 1984 Richard Pavlicek