Linda Lee — My personal bridge blog

The 2008 IBPA Award – Precision Best Bid Hand of the Year

This is the first in a series where I will tell you about this years IBPA Award Winners.  The journalist who reported this hand was Paul Linxwiler (USA) of the ACBL Bulletin.  It was entitled Board-A-Match Beauty and comes from the Reisinger qualifier.

The winning players were Geoff Hampson and Eric Greco. 

Before you read on I have a warning.  This is my write-up of the deal.  I am not familiar with the Greco-Hampson methods in this auction and I have had to guess about the bids they did not make.  (Paul annotated the bids they did make).  Some of the following discussion is a bit tongue in cheek and I am not sure I agree with the award.  You decide.


I think to win an award like this you need to take at least 8 or 9 bids.  I mean I can hardly see an auction like 1NT-6NT winning or 1H-2C-3NT!  Although sometimes those are really the best auctions.  They don’t give anything away to the defence, they don’t get you into trouble forgetting obscure conventions or waste unnecessary brainpower etc.  But here is all its glory is the winner.  Anyone who can come up with a likely winner of a bidding prize that takes four bids or less please send it to me.  I will award you the Master Point Press Simplicity in Bidding Award and a book of my choice from our hurt book bin.

Greco Hampson
♠ A3 ♠ J87
♥ A107 ♥ K2
◊ AKJ107 ◊ 2
♣ K104 ♣ AJ97653


Greco Hampson
2NT 3♠
4◊ 4♥
4NT 5♠

One of the nice parts of this auction is that since Greco opened 2NT showing 19-21 balanced,  we are going to have an auction that we can all relate to.  Very few people play systems where 2NT doesn’t show something like this except for in Australia, of course.  With a good seven card suit and nine high card point Hampson must have already been thinking about slam. 

3♠ showed one or both minors.  These auctions are very tough. You are starting at such a high-level you barely have space to agree trump and find out about keycards.  I have tried to come up with some sensible methods here so I am interested in how Greco-Hampson handle it.   4◊ showed diamonds and a club fit.  I suppose that 4♣ might show clubs and diamond support?  

4♥ was keycard in clubs.  4NT showed 1 or 4 keycards.  At this point Hampson can count seven club tricks and four side suit winners.  5♠ asked for kings.  I presume that 5♥ was the ask for the ♣Q which Hampson didn’t need.  5NT showed a red king which produced the twelfth trick.  At this point Hampson knows about most of Greco’s high cards and he still can’t count to thirteen so he bid  6NT.  I heartily approve of this bid.  Even in top rated events you don’t need to bid grands on what is at most 30 HCP to get a good board.    As the reporter, Linxwiler points out 6NT would score well at BAM.  (I do find this sentence confusing.  What does that mean?  Was 6NT enough to win the board?  At BAM you can only win, lose or tie.  I don’t really think you can score well.)

Up to now this auction has all been about methods but now judgment came into play.  Greco felt that he couldn’t have a better hand.  Those diamonds look like extra tricks and Hampson had already suggested a grand slam.  So he took the push.   One thing I wonder about in these auctions is why he didn’t just bid 7♣ in the first place.  Did the 6NT bid suggest that Hampson had something that Greco didn’t yet know about?

Now here we are in a grand slam that just needs diamond to behave with the queen coming down and no club loser missing three to the queen.  It makes on 5-2 breaks where the queen is doubleton or where the queen lie over the jack (ruffing finesse) and all 4-3 breaks.  A high percentage and I guess they made it or it wouldn’t be the best bid hand.   I admit that if I were playing in any event with less stature than the Reisinger I would be quite happy to be in 6NT since that will win the board most of the time.  In fact, I am not sure that this is the right contract even in the Reisinger.

But then again how can you not admire an auction where the trump suit was not actually bid (except inferentially) until the seven level.  That was the very first time anyone bid actually bid clubs.

So what do you think.  Is this one of the best bid hands of 2008? 

I am sure we can do better next year.  If you have a hand that you would like to submit for next year’s competition send it to me please.  I can write it up and submit it for the award.  There is a cash prize and I would be happy to split it with you 60-40.


Ray LeeJanuary 8th, 2009 at 1:33 am

Do we know anything about the other nominees? I like the auction up to 6NT, which I agree is a fine bid at BAM. You know my philosophy on grands, and it’s even worse at BAM. You’d hate to lose this board by being in 7C when 6NT was winning it…

LindaJanuary 8th, 2009 at 1:50 am

The other nominees were:

Krupowicz-Lutpstanski (Mark Horton)

Fredin-Fallenius (Mark Horton)

Heather Dhondy-Jeremy Dhondy (Somon Cocheme)

Pigot-Moran (Mark Horton)

Sibert-Said (Paul Linxwiler)

Peter GillJanuary 8th, 2009 at 7:19 am

The Pigot – Moran auction is at

A few days ago, Ron Klinger in his daily newspaper bridge column here in Sydney wrote up this award. Like me, Ron prefers the Pigot – Moran auction. Ron said that the 7C write-up suggested that the 7C bidder can tell that 7C is a good contract, but Ron pointed out that the 7C bidder does not know about partner’s vital 7th club. Like Linda, Ron thought 7C was a good guess but hardly prizeworthy. The Pigot – Moran auction however addresses the vital issues of a hand that is very difficult to bid, and the final contract is beyond reproach.

You refer to complex Aussie bidding. In the 1997 Cavendish, Michael Courtney and I had the best auction of my life.

All Vul, Michael dealt with K2, KQ10754, J84, A3 and I held J754, A932, Q10, K64.

With SA offside, we were the only pair to bid & make game (ref NZ Bridge Magazine, Aug 1997), reaching the superior 3NT despite the 6-4 fit. Can you guess how our Australian bidding went?

Peter Gill

Sydney Australia

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