Tricks with no trump

September 11, 1960

As the inventor of the 'unusual no trump,' " an indignant correspondent writes, "you are hereby beseeched to purge the miserable——! The thing has become a booby trap." Her husband, she reports, has given the convention a brisk workout—and their losses have been on the spectacular side. "Please, Mr. Goren," she pleads, "do something about this."

First off, I disclaim authorship of the unusual no trump, but I have included it in recent books of mine because I believe that, properly handled, it can be of great value.

For example, here is a hand in which my associate Leland Ferer and I used the device to great advantage in our recent international bridge adventure in Haiti.

North's bid of two no trump was "unusual," and met all the requirements for that call. First: it was quite evident that the bid did not indicate any real desire to play the hand at no trump, for if North had held a no-trump hand he would have doubled West's call. Second: to justify asking partner to choose between diamonds and clubs at the three level, North's hand was such that he might have bid either of the minor suits himself.

One can generally discern when partner's no-trump bid is unusual. When you get into trouble it is because partner has abused the bid in hopes of finding you with strength and length in one or the other of the minors. Good support for a minor is not enough; the unusual no-trump bidder really says, "Partner, I bid three clubs or three diamonds, whichever you prefer." Of course, a bid in those words would be illegal; the unusual no trump is a legal way to bid both suits at once.

So, getting back to the hand we are discussing, after East bid three spades, my bid of four diamonds on a three-card suit was not startling. All I was doing was raising my partner's implied three-diamond bid.

East won the first trick with the ace of hearts and led a spade to dummy's ace. Dummy led a low diamond which East ducked, permitting my queen to win. The king of hearts, followed by a heart ruff, cleared the entire suit. A trump lead brought the ace from East, who then forced dummy by playing the king of spades.

A diamond to the king cleared all hands of trumps. As I ran the established heart suit, East found himself increasingly hard put to find discards. When the last heart was played, dummy kept the ace-queen of clubs; South's remaining cards were the jack of spades and a club; East held the queen of spades and the guarded king of clubs with one discard yet to be made. At this point he threw in his cards and conceded the last two tricks. East to be sure might have fought it out by discarding a club and compelling me to make the final guess. He chose to pay me the compliment of recognizing that I had his hand "pegged." Making five diamonds produced a top score that helped us to win the pair event.

EXTRA TRICK
Remember that an unusual no trump is the equivalent of a bid in both minor suits. Remember also that as partner of the unusual no-trump bidder, when you first mention a minor suit you are really only raising a suit your partner has already "bid."

PHOTO

North South vulnerable East dealer

NORTH

[Ace of Spades]
[4 of Hearts]
[Ace of Clubs]
[Queen of Clubs]
[9 of Clubs]
[4 of Clubs]
[3 of Clubs]
[2 of Clubs]
[10 of Diamonds]
[7 of Diamonds]
[5 of Diamonds]
[3 of Diamonds]
[2 of Diamonds]

WEST

[8 of Spades]
[6 of Spades]
[5 of Spades]
[Queen of Hearts]
[Jack of Hearts]
[10 of Hearts]
[Jack of Clubs]
[10 of Clubs]
[8 of Clubs]
[7 of Clubs]
[Jack of Diamonds]
[8 of Diamonds]
[6 of Diamonds]

SOUTH

[Jack of Spades]
[3 of Spades]
[2 of Spades]
[King of Hearts]
[9 of Hearts]
[7 of Hearts]
[6 of Hearts]
[5 of Hearts]
[3 of Hearts]
[6 of Clubs]
[King of Diamonds]
[Queen of Diamonds]
[4 of Diamonds]

EAST

[King of Spades]
[Queen of Spades]
[10 of Spades]
[9 of Spades]
[7 of Spades]
[4 of Spades]
[Ace of Hearts]
[8 of Hearts]
[2 of Hearts]
[King of Clubs]
[5 of Clubs]
[Ace of Diamonds]
[9 of Diamonds]

EAST

1 [Spade]
3 [Spade]
PASS

SOUTH
(Goren)

PASS
4 [Diamond]

WEST

1 N.T.
PASS

NORTH
(Ferer)

2 N.T.
PASS

Opening lead: queen of hearts

HOLE YARDS PAR R1 R2 R3 R4
OUT
HOLE YARDS PAR R1 R2 R3 R4
IN
Eagle (-2)
Birdie (-1)
Bogey (+1)
Double Bogey (+2)