Linda Lee — My personal bridge blog

Round 10 Selected Hands Russia versus India World Sports Mind Games

♠ A7
♥ 94
◊ AK103
♣ AKQ76


Bid this hand with me.  System won’t come into it but we are playing 2/1 GF with five card majors.  You are fourth to speak and we are not vulnerable against vulnerable opponents.  Everyone passes and it is your turn.  What do you open?

a) 1◊

b) 1♣

c) 2NT

d) 2♣


I personally like 2NT.  You express your values right off and you you do have a balanced hand.  1♣ is possible since you might be able to find your club slam more easily.  There is no reason to open 1◊ on this hand since if you open 1 of a suit you can reverse into diamonds to show your shape.

Anyone who bid 2NT go to the head of the class… you can skip the rest of the bidding (you will see why later).

If you are still here I assume you opened 1♣.  I bid 1♠ and you bid 2◊ (I gave that away).  We play 2NT would show a weak hand at this point but I bid 3♣.  What do you fancy?

a) 3NT

b) 3◊

c) 3♥

d) 3♠


Now we get into the realm of what do each of these bids mean.  It doesn’t make sense to me to bid 3NT now that you have pinpointed a heart weakness. So cross off that bid.  Does 3◊ suggest some bizarre shape?  I don’t think it should.  I think it is a diamond control.  Otherwise how do you ever get to minor suit slams (or 3NT).  I want to see if partner can cuebid hearts.  I think 3♠ should show delayed spade support so it is risky at this point.  Let say you bid 3◊ and I bid 3♥ .  What now?

a) 3♠

b) 3NT

c) 4♣

d) other


I like 3NT here.  I would rather play 3NT from partner’s side but you can’t have everything.  This limits my hand and offers a place to play the contract.  Partner is after all a passed hand and I need a lot from him to make slam.  If you bid 3NT congratulations.  If not you are heading very rapidly to a no play 6♣ contract.  (Well maybe the heart QJ on side) and a good club break.  Here is the whole hand and the auction as it occurred in the Open Room.


  ♠ A7  
  ♥ 94  
  ◊ AK103  
Kholomeev ♣ AKQ76 Khyuppenen
♠ KJ32   ♠ Q96
♥ Q653   ♥ J872
◊ QJ84   ◊ 762
♣ J   ♣ 1043
  ♠ 10854  
  ♥ AK10  
  ◊ 95  
  ♣ 9852  



Venkataram Chokshi
1♣ 1♠
2◊ 3♣
3◊ 3♥
3♠ 4♥
4NT 5♣
6♣ all pass

The way I posed the problem suggests that Venkataram was completely at fault but that probably isn’t true.  You decide.   This cost 11 imps since the Russians were safely in 3NT.

Here is a hand where by good luck or skill the same pair found themselves on the right side of the score sheet.  I am not sure how exactly.

  ♠ AK103  
  ♥ QJ87  
  ◊ K974  
Kholomeev ♣ 3 Khyuppenen
♠ 952   ♠ 87
♥ —   ♥ A109654
◊ 1086532   ◊ A
♣ KQ98   ♣ 10643
  ♠ QJ64  
  ♥ K32  
  ◊ QJ  
  ♣ AJ72  


Kholomeev Venkataram Chokshi Chokshi
pass 1◊ 1♥ DBL
pass 1♠ pass 2♥
pass 3NT all pass  

When Chokshi made the negative double and Venkataram showed spades,   Chokskki’s 2♥ was simply a game force.  Here Venkataram decided to try 3NT.  The weird thing about this bid is the singleton club.  I know that he has soft heart values.  Chokski was quite happy there and it worked out brilliantly when the you can’t make game in your 4-4 spade fit because of the ruffs.  11 imps to the Indian team.

This last deal (Board 27) was a push and maybe the problem can’t be avoided.  About half the field got to this no play slam.  Let’s see how the Russians handled this hand and you be the judge.

  ♠ A765  
  ♥ AJ43  
  ◊ QJ  
Satyanarayan ♣ K64 Nadar
♠ J   ♠ 94
♥ KQ952   ♥ 76
◊ 8743   ◊ A10652
♣ J102   ♣ 9853
  ♠ KQ10832  
  ♥ 108  
  ◊ K9  
  ♣ AQ7  


Satyanarayan Gromov Nadar Dubinin
pass 2♣ pass 3NT
pass 4♥ pass 4NT
pass 5♥ pass 6♠
all pass      

Gromov-Dubinin Convention Card

The Russians are playing Precision so the 1♠ bid was limited and he was near the top of the range.  2♣ is a game force but there is nothing special on the card about it.  3NT should six spades with a maximum. 3NT showed a maximum with six spades and 4♥ was a cuebid.  After that nothing was stopping Dubinin who bid the slam.

Whose fault was it?  It seems to me that Gromov has little chance of a slam opposite a limited partner.  In fact, that is the part of the beauty of a forcing club system it can keep you out of the bad ones.  I know the hands are mirrored in the minors but even if you switch the minors around and change the distribution the only thing that actually helps is adding clubs to the North hand so that South can get a heart discard. 

But he certainly had a lot of company.  You assess the blame, if any.

In the end Russia prevailed 46-27.


Ray LeeOctober 7th, 2008 at 9:33 pm

On the first deal I don’t agree that a 2NT opening solves all your problems. You have a hand that is off-shape, suit-oriented, and arguably too strong for 2NT anyway. This is the kind of hand you end up in 3NT from the wrong side, or with 6C cold. Opening 2C is a little rich, however, so I’d start with 1C — you only have 4 cards in the majors, so you’re not getting passed out in 1C. I would lay most of the blame on the 3D bid — North could be forgiven for imagining a 6-5 hand opposite, and having visions of sugar plums. Yes, perhaps 3S should imply three cards there, but you can’t have everything. I’d bid 3S, and then 4C over 3NT and see what partner did. Partner will bid 4H now, and I’ll bid 4S. Partner has nothing esle to say, so should sign off in 5C now, and I hope I’d have the discipline to pass that. Not an easy pair of hands, though.

Shyam SOctober 9th, 2008 at 1:56 pm

On the first deal, I disagree with the analysis that the contract is “no play”. If you presented the cards correctly, declarer can make 12 tricks when trumps break 2-2 (ruff two diamonds in dummy). It also makes when clubs are 3-1 but hearts are 4-3 with one opp holding QJx. The final possibility is that trumps are 3-1 and the person with the 3rd club also has 4-card diamond. The remote chance of finding QJ bare in hearts can be tested, but not the 25% line of finding QJ onside because the preferred line (trying to drop QJx of diamond) or playing for 4-card diamond with 3-card club is much superior.

All said, the odds must be at least 55% of pulling in the slam.

Additionally, assuming their bidding system did not allow a queen to be pinpointed, any of SQ, HQ or DQ with Chokshi improves odds of slam significantly.

I do not think the slam was bad — it’s only weakness is that it did not succeed.

Linda LeeOctober 10th, 2008 at 1:15 am

I meant no play on the lie of the cards in the club slam and perhaps that is a poor way to phrase it. I agree that you can make it with clubs 2-2. The probabilty of that is 40% roughly. There is a 5% chance that the suit splits 4-0 which probably rules out most changes. Of the 55% that have a 3-2 break there is a chance that the QJX of diamonds will come down. I think you meant diamonds not hearts. In fact the doubleton QJ of diamonds works too. There are other ways to play diamonds (for example doubling hooking). You may be able to combine chances too, in a sort of cross-ruff. I don’t know how you came up with 55%. I am not sure that is the right number, it seems a bit high to me but I haven’t actually worked it all out.

So perhaps you are right and I am basically following the Hamman slam rule – its a good slam if it makres.

Leave a comment

Your comment