Linda Lee — My personal bridge blog

Bridge is a tough game…the grand that wasn’t in the Vanderbilt final

Both North-South’s faced a bidding challenge on Board 24.  See what you think.  Take the South hand for a moment.

With nobody vulnerable you are in fourth seat.  The opponents are silent.  Your partner Delmonte opens 1 and you bid 2 game forcing.  the next thing you hear is 4 keycard.  What do you do?





I am old fashioned.  I answer keycards and I do not show the void in spades.  Here I have two keycards and the trump queen so I respond 4NT.  But then again I have such a great hand.  What could partner possible have that will not make the grand a possibility?  Is that what South was thinking when he bid 5NT which showed 2 keycards and a void.  This does give North a problem.  Where is the void?  How good are South’s trump?  Or perhaps he wasn’t even quite sure what 5NT was.  Maybe North who must have wondered what to do now should just have bid 6 .  If that is keycards South will have to hold a heart void and the AKQ of diamonds to make the slam.  Maybe if North bids 6 showing the A North can decide if his void is really useful (a club void would be a problem).  This bid propelled South to be the diamond grand (maybe he thought that North was looking for the trump queen).  This now received a sporting doubled because these were the two hands:










Now what was going on in the Open Room.  Things moved a little bit more slowly in the open room.  Over 1 -2 Levin just raised diamonds to 3 .  South cuebid hearts and North cuebid clubs.  At this point the auction from my viewpoint as a spectator gets confused.  And I wouldn’t be surprised if the players were confused too.

Weinstein bid keycard (4 ).  Remember Weinstein holds the void.  Well at least I think he bid keycard.  4 was alerted and it is often used as kickback.  Maybe it was something else?  Weinstein bid 5 .  Now if he though 4 was ace asking then normally his response which is 5 which is the fourth step would show two keycards and the trump queen.  Maybe they play it differently.  South made a grand slam try with 5 and North bid the grand.  Maybe 4had a different meaning?  Maybe it was just another cuebid, alerted or not.  Something went wrong that I know.

In any case we had two expert pairs playing the final of the vanderbilt get to a grand slam opposite the ace of trump.  This has one important lesson.  Don’t let a really bad result get you down (at least not until the session is over) and bridge is one tough game.

If I got the meaning of the auctions wrong I am sorry but the main point is still there.  Try bidding this one with your favorite partner and see if you can beat the Vanderbilt finalists.


Nick KrnjevicMarch 21st, 2011 at 8:50 pm

I have a lot of sympathy for Bakshi (S).

While it’s true that one generally doesn’t show a non-working void, his hand is so good it’s difficult to construct a reasonable hand that North could bid key-card with, at his second turn to speak, that doesn’t include the Ace of trumps.

And it’s now or never. Give Ish a freak such as KQJT98-X-Axxxx-A. – if Bakshi doesn’t show the void now they’ll never reach an excellent grand.

So in fairness to Bakshi, if ever a hand called for showing a potentially non-working void, he was holding it.

Ish seems to have assumed that Bakshi would not have shown a non-working void, and bid 6C, presumably trying to get to 7d if pard held a heart void and something like xxx-void-AKQxxx-Kxxx.

Seems reasonable for Bakshi to have assumed that his pard wasn’t trying for a grand holding Jxxx of trumps., so whatever his pard was looking for with his 6C bid, Bakshi seemed to hold.

All of which suggests that none of this would have happened if Ish had simply raised 2D to 3 (assuming that was forcing), since Bashi would not have subsequently felt that this exceptional hand justified showing a non-working void.

Cam FrenchMarch 21st, 2011 at 10:14 pm


A great hand and you did well to address it so delicately.

I recall the first quarter of a major event where at both tables there were 7 slams (out of 16 boards) all down!

We all make mistakes and live on Vugraph they are of course more pronounced. The expert makes fewer mistakes. Obviously if team Amoils avoids the grand, they win the event. Equally obviously there were several boards where they might have done beter.

I applaud team Amoils for their Cinderella run to the top. And frankly, I wish they had won. That said, it was a fabulous match.

WD by all.


Linda LeeMarch 22nd, 2011 at 10:14 am

It was a great match. It is amazing that them Amoils did so well.

Jeff LehmanMarch 22nd, 2011 at 2:54 pm

I like Levin’s 3D much more than Delmonte’s 4D: there can be too big a hole in trump suit (envisage Qxxxx opposite Jxxx and you might not even make game in diamonds) for any sort of committal bid. After that, so much depends upon partnership agreement. Is 3H just showing a heart stopper in a search for 3NT? (Presumptively, I would say “yes”.) What does it mean when North replied 4C to 3H and not 3S or 3NT? What are the agreements on kickback calls, etc.? Was Weinstein’s plan to bid 4D over his partner’s 3NT to evidence slam interest, and then was stuck when his partner did not bid 3NT? (But surely 4D would still be a forcing call, even over 4C.) I would be interested to hear Levin-Weinstein post mortem.

The theatre was great; I really enjoyed watching on BBO and reading the notes of commentators. As BridgeWinners website just noted, this was a bellweather tournament for younger players.

Jeff LehmanMarch 22nd, 2011 at 2:59 pm

One more issue. If Delmonte’s 4D call was keycard for diamonds, then I would respond 5C with Bakhshi’s hand, fourth step for two keycards and the trump queen, right? I just would never show a void in partner’s suit; even if it is right, I am not showing it!

Dustin StoutMarch 23rd, 2011 at 6:18 pm

Wouldn’t 4NT deny the Q of trumps?

Jeff LehmanMarch 24th, 2011 at 7:04 am

BridgeWinners website now includes comments from both Levin and Weinstein about their calls that resulted in reaching 7D off the trump ace. Some of the questions I posed above they have now answered: 3H is stopper-showing and 3S was the beginning of the partnership problem. Weinstein took the failure to bid 3S as indication that Levin did not won the SA (and so later thought that Levin instead owned the DA), while Levin thought 3S would sew confusion because it would be presumed to express interest in 4S as a final contract.

The BridgeWinners website also illustrates how the two overcame this debacle and focused, successfully, on playing good bridge for the remaining boards.

Perhaps some day we will discover the reasoning of Delmonte-Bakhshi, too.

BlairApril 3rd, 2011 at 12:29 pm

I’m old fashion. Delmonte does not have a keycard bid of 4 diamonds….Bakshi had two chances to cuebid his other Ace

AnindyaApril 18th, 2011 at 6:02 am

I would directly bid 6D

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