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Bold Bidding Wins

  by Richard Pavlicek

Ten years ago last month, Helen Shanbrom and my son Rich (with teammates Stanley Friedberg and Julius Freilich) pulled off an amazing upset in the Florida finals of the Grand National Teams. Helen has a great flair for the game, but also important is her easy-going, come-what-may attitude that brings out the best in her partners. Watch her in action as South.

North dealsS A J 5 4WestNorthEastSouth
Both vulH A 10 81 DPass2 NT
D K 4 3Pass3 NTPassPass
C 10 7 2Pass
S 9 6 3TableS K 8 2
H Q J 6 4H 9 3 2
D Q 9 7 6 5D A J 10
C 9C K J 6 5
S Q 10 7
H K 7 5
D 8 2
3 NT SouthC A Q 8 4 3

After North’s skimpy opening, Shanbrom stretched to respond 2 NT. These two slight overbids resulted in a game with only 23 points. No problem! West led a heart; eight, nine, king; then the spade queen was led to the king. East returned a heart and declarer allowed West to hold the jack.

West now could beat the contract with a diamond shift; but this was not obvious, so West returned a heart to dummy’s ace. Shanbrom led the club 10, covered by East’s king, and South ducked the first round to keep East on lead. East could do no better than return a spade, won by 10. The club ace was led to reveal the 4-1 break, dummy’s spades were run, then the club finesse gave Shanbrom the contract — and a 10-IMP gain when the opposing team routinely played in a partscore.

There was nothing truly spectacular here, just good solid technique, which is the hallmark of Shanbrom’s success. New players may also be encouraged to learn that Shanbrom uses almost no conventions. She keeps the bidding simple, and wins where it counts.

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© 1996 Richard Pavlicek