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Scientific Bidding Unveils Grand

  by Richard Pavlicek

Slam-bidding methods have shown vast improvements over the years. Many situations that used to be pure guesswork are now reduced to an exact science. Today’s deal, from the Swiss team event of the July Fourth tournament at the Diplomat Hotel in Hollywood, is a case in point.

Although many old-fashioned players might bid a grand slam, it is doubtful they would have a high degree of confidence until they saw both hands. Not so with Roy Herigodt of Ft. Lauderdale and Herb Rovner of Oakland Park, who bid the North-South hands with pinpoint accuracy.

7 D South
Both Vul
S A K Q J 2
D K J 10 9 3
C A 6

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

Lead: H 10
S 5 4
H K 7 3
D A Q 6 4
C 9 8 3 2


North’s two-club opening was strong and artificial, the popular adjunct to “weak two-bids;” and South’s two-diamond response was an artificial waiting bid. North then showed his spade suit; South denied support and showed constructive values with two notrump (a three-club rebid instead would be artificial to indicate a “bust” hand); North showed his second suit; and South raised to four diamonds.

North then took charge with Blackwood — not the regular kind, but a modern improvement called “Roman key-card Blackwood.” In this variation there are five key cards (the four aces plus the king of the agreed trump suit) and the step responses are: 0 or 3; 1 or 4; 2 or 5 (without the trump queen); and 2 or 5 (with the trump queen). South’s five-diamond response showed one or four key cards (obviously one).

North still was unsure whether to bid six or seven, so he continued with the cheapest unplayable suit — five hearts. This was another asking bid with step responses: no trump queen; trump queen; trump queen + 1 king, etc. When South showed the diamond queen and a king, North could bid seven with almost 100-percent certainty.

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© 1985 Richard Pavlicek