Linda Lee — My personal bridge blog

Learning from old Bridge Worlds

I know I mentioned that I love to read old Bridge World magazines.  Every time I pick one up I find something interesting.  It usually only takes a minute or two.  Well taking a short break I picked up the July 1987 edition.  The magazine magically flipped open to Page 24.  The article described a playoff in the semifinal of the U.S. team trial written up by Phillip Alder.  Bobby Wolff (a friend and author) was playing with Bob Hamman at one table against Solway and Goldman.  At the other table their teammates Martel and Stansby were playing against Andersen and Lair.  Here was a critical hand which brought the match to within 1 imp.

Try bidding this with your favourite partner.  Ray and I bid it and I will give you our results, the match result and some thought a bit later on.

West (dealer) noone vulnerable

West S AKJ7543 H J106 D 2 C A8

………………………….. East hand coming up …………….


East S 6 H AK87543 D AKJ C J6


At the table Stansby opened 4D Namyats.  Here was their auction.

Stansby   Martel

4D           5C

5NT         6C


Over 4D showing 8-9 tricks with spades as trump, Martel bid 5C.  I don’t know what they were playing but based on the hand and the rest of the auction it must have showed red suit controls and denied a club control.  Stansby bid 5NT Grand Slam force and when Martel bid 6S settled for the small slam knowing they were off the trump queen.

Ray and I play Namyats too and if Ray had bid it the auction would have gone 5D showing both diamond and heart controls, no club control and slam interest and we might have had the same auction.  But Ray didn’t see Martel’s hand as a Namyats hand.  He didn’t think it had enough playing strength in spades, interesting. 

At the other table Goldman and Solway had a rather unscientific auction which landed in the right spot.

Goldman   Solway

1S             2H

3S            4D

4NT          5H

6H            7H

Solway’s 4D was a cuebid in support of spades and Goldman’s 6H was a choice of slam.  Solway bid 7H because if Goldman had heart support his hand had improved and he took a chance that they weren’t off an ace.

Ray and I had this auction but remember I did know what his hand was.  I tried not to cheat.   Here goes

Ray        Linda

1S          2H (not Game force)

3S         4H (very good hearts)

4NT      5D (0 or 3)

5S        6D (I think 7 is enough extra in this auction to count as the queen)


The problem with our auction is that 4H is an underbid.  Maybe I should bid 5H but will that get us to seven?  The problem is that with seven good spades partner tends to set that as trump and it is hard to get to another strain.  I rather like the Goldman-Solway auction even if there was a bit of guessing at the end.

The results of the match: the team with Hamman Solway Martel and Stansby won by 1 imp.  This was the second last hand and this hand brought the teams to that score.  However the last board was flat. 

Winning by 1 imp is a lot better than losing by 1 imp.

Here is the New York Times story written by Alan Truscott which describes the trials and you can find out who won by following the link.

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