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Slam Bid Wins Match

 by Richard Pavlicek

I was saddened by the death last year of my longtime friend (and best man at my wedding) Jim Beery, but the fond memories live on. This month’s deal occurred in the 1986 Grand National Team qualifying held at the Fort Lauderdale Bridge Club. At the other table I was partnered with my then 15-year-old son, and our opponents bid and made an easy 3 NT. We would have lost the match were not it not for the great result of our teammates, Jim and his wife Marietta.

South dealsS 9 3WestNorthEastSouth
None vulH J 7 6 21 D
D 9 2Pass1 HPass2 C
C A Q J 9 2Pass3 CPass3 S
S K J 7 4TableS Q 10 8 5Pass5 CPass6 C
H K Q 10 4H A 9 8 5All Pass
D 3D 10 8 7 6 4
C 8 7 6 5C
S A 6 2
H 3
D A K Q J 5
6 C SouthC K 10 4 3

Jim, North, responded in his moth-eaten heart suit and then offered some encouragement with a raise to 3 C. Marietta’s 3 S bid showed the ace (it could not be a real suit from her failure to bid 1 S over 1 H) and Jim leaped to game in clubs. (No one ever accused Jim of being a shy bidder.) This jump bid surely indicated good trumps, so Marietta bid the slam.

Declarer made short work of the play when West led the H K and continued the suit, South ruffing. A club was led to dummy’s jack to ruff another heart with the C K; then the C 10 was overtaken with dummy’s queen to draw all of West’s trumps and claim the rest.

A more accurate defense (e.g., a heart lead then a shift to another suit) would defeat the slam because of the cruel distribution in the minor suits. But the contract was excellent, and the reward was just.

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© 1996 Richard Pavlicek