Linda Lee — My personal bridge blog

The Last Segment of the Senior Match Moss versus Schwartz

Moss: Michael Moss, Mark Lair, Fred Hamilton, Arnold Fisher, Dan Morse and Bobby Wolff entered the last segment of the Round of 8 in the Seniors Trials with a small lead over Schwartz: Richie Schwartz, Neil Chambers, John Schermer, Stever Landen, Sam Lev     181 to 167.

There really weren’t a lot of imps in the first twelve of the last fifteen boards in the final segment.  But it was enough to give Schwartz an eight imp lead as they outscored Moss 21 to 4.

Board 88 (of 90) was exciting.  Looking at all four hands we could see North-South could make a non-vulnerable club slam and East-West was going to lose 800 if they saved over this is six diamonds.


In the Closed Room Schwartz had already scored +420 in the club game.  Could Moss get to the slam?  The slam bonus would put Moss in the lead.  Even if Schwartz saved over this is diamonds Moss would win 380 a gain of nine imps and a one imp lead for Moss.

Look at the whole hand and think about how you would have handled the North cards.  Nobody is vulnerable and West is the dealer.  West starts with a pass.  Would you open with the North hand in second chair with any bid?

In the Closed Room Lev had passed but in the Open Room Fisher opened 3.  It really seemed like Fisher-Hamilton had a good shot at getting to the slam.  This preempt may not be your cup of tea.  You are in second chair which means that your side is somewhat more likely to have the majority of the high cards and you have a four card major and only six clubs.  

East passed and it was up to Hamilton.  He had no easy way to find out if North had a diamond control but if Fisher did and he had good clubs then you could almost count twelve tricks.  What would you do with the South hand?  Three spades? or do you like keycard?  Hamilton took the chance and bid 4 keycard (Redwood).  Moss fans were getting excited.

But a funny thing happened on the way to the club slam.  West, Schermer now made the third off-center bid of the auction.  He doubled four diamonds.  I am not sure how he knew he wanted a diamond lead (as opposed to a heart) but he knew he didn’t want a black lead.  

In your system do you have a way to show a diamond singleton and a keycard!  Fisher-Hamilton didn’t.  Fisher, might I supposed might have just bid slam but he was short a club, I suppose.  He just answered keycard with 4.  East take the dive in 5 and it was up to Hamilton.  A pass here would surely have been forcing and suggest a slam – is it clearly asking about a diamond control?  I think it is but it is not clear.  If he passed would Fisher have bid the slam.  We will never know because Hamilton just doubled five diamonds.  Their result was +500.  2 imps for Moss bringing their deficit to just 6 imps. 

There was no room for a pickup on the next board when both sides did well to bid a grand slam in notrump.  So we came to the last board of the set with Fisher needing 6 imps and Schwartz had a bit of a soft result on Board 90, the last board.  As it turned out Fisher-Hamilton got to a better partscore and did have a small chance of making six imps but things didn’t work out that way.

So in the end Schwartz won the right to move on and Moss has retired.  I confess I am sorry to see Wolff-Morse out of the trials.  I admit my bias.  But good luck to Schwartz as they continue on to the semifinals.




Jeff LehmanJune 4th, 2012 at 9:27 pm

What is the motivation behind Hamilton’s 4D keycard call? Would it not be safer to just bid the slam than allow for a lead director (on, say, DAK)? Or perhaps I have the logic backwards: maybe he was going to bid the slam if 4D were NOT doubled, expecting that the absence of a double would suggest to East that he lead something other than a diamond?

lindaJune 4th, 2012 at 9:50 pm

I think he was worried that his partner’s three club was made on pretty week clubs. Say Q seventh? I confess I have been known to open three clubs which such a suit when I wasn’t vulnerable. I think he wanted to avoid slam off the CK and the DA (and possibly worse!).

There is an argument for just bidding six clubs I agree.

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