Search

Improving on good

May 15, 1961
May 15, 1961

Table of Contents
May 15, 1961

Derby
Odds And Dolls
Tough Cookie
Tire Salesman
Boxing
Boating
Hurley
Baseball's Week
Acknowledgments
19th Hole: The Readers Take Over
Pat On The Back

Improving on good

"The 10th world bridge championship in Buenos Aires was barely finished before the usual debates over the relative merits of bidding systems began. To this observer, the point is clear: systems had little to do with the outcome. As always, the team guilty of the fewest errors—in this case the Italians—won.

This is an article from the May 15, 1961 issue Original Layout

If systems played a part at all, they probably had an adverse effect on their users. The French masters, Pierre Ghestem and René Bacherich, again employed their highly artificial methods, but this style of play seems to have ceased to mesmerize the opposition. Time after time, bids left their wielders more confused than the enemy. No such misfortune befell the natural-bidding Italians and Americans. Here is a hand, played on the 104th deal in the match between the U.S. and Italy, in which the U.S. made a good Italian score better.

This was the bidding the first time the deal was played:

SOUTH
(Avarelli)

1 [Heart]
2 [Spade]
4 [Spade]

WEST
(Gerber)

2 [Diamond]
PASS
PASS

NORTH
(Belladonna)

PASS
3 [Spade]
PASS

EAST
(Hodge)

PASS
4 [Diamond]
PASS

Opening lead: 7 of clubs

In the Roman Club system played by Walter Avarelli and Giorgio Belladonna, partner may not pass an opening bid of one in a suit. With a minimum hand, he is obliged to answer in the next-higher-ranking suit. Thus, had John Gerber passed the West hand, North would have been compelled to bid one spade, but in this case, Avarelli bid the spades himself, showing a strong hand by his "canapé" reverse. North raised to three, and South went to game.

Declarer ruffed the opening club and, playing safe for his contract, led a low heart. East, played by Paul Hodge, made his queen and led another club. South ruffed, cashed the ace and queen of trumps and played the ace and another heart, won by West's king, East discarding the 8 of diamonds. A club continuation, forcing declarer to use his last trump, would have set the contract. However, fearing declarer might be able to pitch dummy's diamond on a heart, West shifted to a diamond. Declarer took the ace and discarded one of dummy's clubs on a heart, letting East ruff. But South had a trump and a heart to take care of dummy's last two clubs and game was made. In the other room the U.S. was North-South.

SOUTH
(Leventritt)

1 [Spade]
6 [Spade]

WEST
(D'Alelio)

PASS
PASS

NORTH
(Schenken)

3 [Spade]
PASS

EAST
(Chiaradia)

PASS
PASS

Howard Schenken's jump to three spades was pre-emptive and based on a hunch that the opponents had the better of the cards. Even though Schenken and Peter Leventritt play this bid as pre-emptive rather than forcing, the bid should represent far more values than the North hand actually held, and South was justified in jumping to six spades.

The opening lead was the same, and Leventritt ruffed. But, needing to make six, he cashed the diamond ace, trumped a diamond in dummy and led the jack of hearts. East covered with the queen and South took the ace, trumped another diamond and drew the trumps in three leads. He conceded a trick to West's heart king and still had a trump with which to regain the lead and win the rest of the tricks with his established hearts, making six.

EXTRA TRICK
Sometimes, the more you bid the more you make. But it is also true that sometimes the necessity for playing all out may bring about a sizable set, where a modest bid will permit you to employ a safety play which assures the contract.

ILLUSTRATION

Neither side vulnerable South dealer

NORTH

[King of Spades]
[10 of Spades]
[9 of Spades]
[3 of Spades]
[Jack of Hearts]
[10 of Hearts]
[8 of Hearts]
[10 of Clubs]
[9 of Clubs]
[4 of Clubs]
[3 of Clubs]
[2 of Clubs]
[6 of Diamonds]

WEST

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

SOUTH

[Ace of Hearts]
[9 of Hearts]
[6 of Hearts]
[5 of Hearts]
[3 of Hearts]
[Ace of Spades]
[Queen of Spades]
[Jack of Spades]
[6 of Spades]
[5 of Spades]
[Ace of Diamonds]
[Jack of Diamonds]
[3 of Diamonds]

EAST

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