Part 4: Vanderbilt Victory – the last quarter
The third quarter of the Vanderbilt also went to Amoils, but narrowly. They had now “won” every quarter and led Diamond 102 to 45. Still 57 imps is not too much to overcome in 16 boards.
I was going to watch this exciting set live. One thing was likely, there were going to be a lot of swings.
In fact on the final 16 boards there were by my count eight swings of 8 imps or more. But there really wasn’t a lot of deals that leant themselves to the kind of fireworks that Diamond was looking for.
The final result Amoils 138 and Diamond 88.
Board 63 is interesting in that it shows how Brad Moss managed to interfer enough in a forcing club auction to keep his opponents out of a good game and he did it at unfavorable vulnerability. If you have watched Moss and Gitelman play a lot (as I have) you will notice that Brad has a way of creating swings on otherwise straightforward deals. Keep in mind he was vulnerable against not.
Cheek opened one club, strong artificial and forcing. Moss bid 1NT which shows apparently minors. For Cheek-Grue , based on the discussion that was reported at the table both two clubs and two diamonds showed 5-4 in the majors one way or the other. Grue doubled to show values. I am sure that anyone who has played forcing club has discussed what happens over interference at length. The problem is that it is hard for partnerships to discuss every possible situation.
1NT has taken a lot of space away. Should this particular double set up a game force or 5+? Maybe you like 5+? You want to indicate it is your hand. But then what?
Gitelman bid his “better minor” with two clubs. Now how does Cheek-Grue double this for penalty if they want to? Is a double here by Cheek takeout or penalty? What we do know from the subsequent auction is that a double by Grue is for takeout. I suspect the idea is that both partners doubles are takeout and that with a penalty double Cheek passes and Grue doubles and vice versa but I am not sure.
It is hard to understand the choice made by each partner without understanding all the options. I might have bid 2NT with Cheek’s hand if it showed a 16-18 notrump. When auctions like this get confused and you have a big lead sometimes it is better to just try to get back to a normal place. Anyway he passed and Grue doubled for takeout.
Over the takeout double Cheek bid two diamonds. Assuming Moss’ 1NT was minor is it clear that this bid is natural? Anyway I would have bid 2NT to show a balanced hand with a both minors stopped at this point.
Now Grue bid two spades which he obviously thought was forcing and this got passed out. I assume Cheek thought that Grue had about 5-7 points with five spades and he doubled in the first place because he wasn’t good enough to bid two spades directly.
We have all been in tortured auctions like these where the bidding enters unfamiliar grounds and each partner has to work out what every bids means and the confusion sets in. Not too long ago I had a huge blowup with a partner over an auction not so different from this one. This generally leads to a lot more discussion about the specific situation!
For example. when does Grue’s bid stop being forcing. If Grue’s original double does not show more than 5 or 6 points than his double might be forcing up to two spades. If that is the case he really can’t afford to bid two spades in this auction. (He could try three clubs which is what I would have bid anyway.)
Cheek-Grue played in their 4-2 spade fit which faced a 5-2 break and couldn’t bring it home. At the other table their opponents had an uncontested (no suprise!) auction to arrive in 3NT.
Conclusions: If I ever need a swing on a board could you send over Brad Moss. The man is a genius at getting swings. Second, every partnership, especially in competitive auctions will arrive at a place which is not discussed or not discussed enough and they are either guessing at what bids mean or differ about the meaning of bids. I have written about the confusion caused to world class pairs by a simple double of Blackwood as an example. Third: You can never discuss everything. The best thing you can do is to try to simplify the auction when you are not sure of what bids mean. Of course, that isn’t always possible. I like to have some metarules too that come into play when you are out of system. And most important, accidents happen, forgiveness of each other is golden. Winning the Vanderbilt probably made forgiveness pretty easy in this case.