Linda Lee — My personal bridge blog

The Final Quarter of the Vanderbilt – Missing a grand

By the start of the second board of the last quarter the Vanderbilt was tied 88 to 88.  The teams included the 7th seed Grue and the 21st seed Fleisher.

Martin Fleisher, New York NY; Michael Kamil, Holmdel NJ; Chip Martel, Davis CA; Lew Stansby, Dublin CA; Robert Levin, Henderson NV; Steve Weinstein, Andes NY


Joe Grue, New York NY; Leslie Amoils, Toronto ON; Ishmael Delmonte, New South Wales Australia; Curtis Cheek, Las Vegas NV; David Bakhshi, London England

Les Amoils is from my home town, Toronto, and he is a friend.  So it is exciting to see him playing in the final but he is sitting out this round.  Grue picked up a game swing when Stansby-Martel got too high so they take the lead 101-88.  But on the next board Levin and Weinstein bid a thin 3NT missed at that the other table.

Board 21 contains 13 top tricks in 7NT for Weinstein and Levin.  You don’t even need ANY suit to break.  Kind of cool.  Of course they have to get there.















So the question is with the defense quiet throughout how to get to the grand slam.  North is vulnerable against not in first chair.  The first four bids were the same at both tables and I think there were somewhat instructive.  North started with 1 and South who has an enormous hand bid a game forcing 2 .   You could bid 3 if it means very good spades (six or more) and extra.  But maybe with Qx of hearts that might be the better trump suit.  Once you bid 3you are pretty well going to play there or notrump. It might be better to go slow and that is what happened at both tables.  Both North’s bid 2 and both South’s with good cards in every other suit bid 2NT.  I wonder about whether 3 was a choice for them.  It would have been for me.  I am not too worried about getting passed 3NT with 19 high card points.

The auction continued along the same vein.  In the Closed Room Levin bid 3 which showed two to an honor in HEARTS.  In the Open Room Delmonte bid 3 amounting to the same thing.  Now who should take charge?  In the Closed Room Weinstein bid 4NT.  I think that was intended as keycard in hearts.  North who had this semi-solid undisclosed 6 card suit bid 6NT.  Maybe Levin wasn’t sure whether 4NT was keycard  or maybe he just wanted to get to slam and thought notrump was best.  I don’t know.  That ended the auction.  Could Weinstein have been on?  He might have reasoned that if Levin wanted to be in 6NT and he had 19 high card points all in controls with a heart fit and a spade fit of sorts that 13 tricks was likely but that is probably something that you just can’t take a chance on.   I do understand that when you get into a complex auction like this it is pretty impossible for a spectator (namely me) to understand all the nuances of this auction.

In the Open Room Bakhshi bid a quite 4 cue bidding in support of the heart contract.  Now Delmonte took control and bid keycard.  In the subsequent auction he could demonstrate that there side had all the keycards and make a grand slam try which Bakhshi was pleased to accept.  Getting to 7NT was worth 13 imps.

How would the bidding go after 1 -2 -3 ?  South might have started with some cuebidding and North would have shown the diamond control.  Keycard would have revealed they had them all and South would have made a grand slam try.  North might show the Q and that would be enough for South.

Here is the auction in the Closed Room.

West North East South
1 Pass 2
Pass 2 Pass 2NT
Pass 3 * Pass 4NT
pass 6NT all pass

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