Linda Lee — My personal bridge blog

CNTC CBC thoughts

Vugraph in BBO had the last segment of the Canadian Team Trials labeled CBC Final 8/8.

If you are not Canadian you may not be aware that CBC stands for Canadian Broadcasting Corporation which is government supported Canadian television.  We just wish that the final had been broadcast nationally.

Ray talked at length about the play on Board 23 but I want to make a couple of comments on the bidding.  The players in each room got to the right spot although one bid the small slam and one bdi the grand.


s A2
h AK87653
Copy of d
s 108
h Q942
Copy of d AK2 
c 10532


In the OR Darren Wolpert had a chance to bid the grand slam but he simply could not count 13 tricks.  In effect he knew the grand was quite likely to be on the club finesse as it was and he properly did not bid over 6h.

I do not generally believe in bidding grand slams.  Too often I find out that my opponents are in game.  7NT is almost exactly 50-50 with the small chance of dropping the cQ in the first round.  There are some remote chances of a helpful squeeze on some leads.  I know that there are some variations in the play if you play in hearts but they have very small impact on the odds.

If your opponents bid the small slam and you bid the grand and make it, then you have won 11 imps, the difference being 500 or so (depending on which slams are bid).  If you go down then the difference is 14 imps.  So the mathematics suggest that bidding the grand is not a good idea.  I am ignoring the possibility slim as it is at this level that the opponents are playing only in game.  If you consider this it is overwhelming better not to be a 50% grand.

But in the other room where West opened a strong club North, Balcombe who held

s K943
Copy of d QJ10864 
c 974

bid a preemptive 2Copy of d.  This increased the probability that the club finesse was working and made the grand slam more likely.  So basically the system, forcing club, provided an opportunity for the opponents to enter the auction even at unfavorable vulnerability and changed the odds on the grand slam.  So in this situation bidding the grand slam as Campbell did was the best action.

So the luck in the deal it seems to me was more related to the system that each pair was playing as much as it was related to the finesse working (or not).

Let’s look at one more slam decision for Wolpert (Board 23)

s KQ
h A654
Copy of d K9 
c A10843


You open 1NT and partner bids 4h transfer.  You bid 4s and partner bids 5h.  Should you continue or not?

I admit that I do not know how they play this sequence and how it would fit into their system.  So I will discuss it from my point of view recognizing that for Darren things may have been different.  This is a fairly strong slam try, since partner is willing to bid past game.  Partner is looking for controls and possible trump having a fairly freakish hand.  He can’t be two suited since he would have shown the two suits.  He might have a void and find Blackwood less useful.  He is willing to try for missing the king-queen of trump and rather a lot of controls. 

I am not sure what is happening but I can’t imagine any sensible hand partner could have where my hand wouldn’t be helpful.  I would bid the slam.  Darren didn’t.  I would be interested in hearing why he chose to pass 5s.   Korbel had made a rather imaginative and gusty bid (I like it) with

s AJ106542
Copy of d QJ64 
c Q9


In the closed room Klimowich just bid the spade game on what amounted to the same auction (although translated in forcing club).

Board 25 is interesting too. 

Nick Gartaganis/Balcombe (not vulnerable versus vulnerable)
s 10
h KJ98642
Copy of d KJ5 
c 107

In first chair Nick chose to open 3h while Keith Balcombe opened 1h.  I can see the problem 3h seems too preemptive and you don’t have a good enough hand for 1h.  Opening 1h did win the board in the end though with some confusion through in by blogger Ross Taylow  Over 1h Klimowich who held

s AKQ653
h 10
Copy of d A32 
c KQ4

doubled and Ross made a “tactical bid of 1s holding

s J42
h 53
Copy of d Q1098 
c A652

This created enough confusion to keep Campbell- Klimowicz out of their good spade game.  The auction continued like this

Campbell Balcombe Klimowicz Taylor
  1h DBL 1s
pass 2h 2s all pass

Campbell held

s 987
h AQ7
Copy of d 764 
c J983

Do you think he should have bid?  I do.  In the open room where Nick opened with a preempt, Korbel doubled and they quickly arrived in 4s.

Over all I thought the match was very well played and both teams are winners as far as I am concerned.


DarrenJune 9th, 2010 at 2:58 pm

Hi Linda,

Systemically he showed exactly a void in hearts by bidding the way he did. At the time I devalued the ace of hearts knowing that it was opposite a void. That being said this hand was my biggest regret of the match. I think my other cards are so good that I should bid a slam regardless.

RossJune 9th, 2010 at 3:54 pm

Hi Linda

While it’s nice to be thought of as a sneaky player who made a tactical bid of one spade in the above auction, the truth is one spade was systemic, alerted and showed a typical 1NT response, as we play transfer responses over their takeout doubles.

Nonetheless, the “sound” of the auction may have played a small part in their ensuing conservatism.

Dave Memphis MOJOJune 9th, 2010 at 7:03 pm

Cute hands, thanks for sharing.

LindaJune 10th, 2010 at 8:44 am

Thanks Darren. That does seem a sensible way to play the 5H bid.

Don CampbellJune 11th, 2010 at 12:13 pm

Perhaps even more noteworthy regarding system differences would be the variation of the 6H/7H hand in the seniors teams?

One team chose, from all appearnces, to employ hesitation blackwood….guessed to raise 6H to 7H (inappropriately, as you noted) lucky…..then had the result rolled back according to our ridiculous rules, costing them the event.

LindaJune 15th, 2010 at 10:04 am

It’s horrible to lose an event on a ruling. But if you are planning to bid 7H you should just do it and not risk an issues when you raise partner’s 6H to 7H.

Leave a comment

Your comment