Happy table talk in Hawaii

November 20, 1961

Bridge proved itself a successful spectator sport in Honolulu last month. More than 1,500 spectators watched a three-session match between Hawaii's top players and a mainland team that I had the honor to captain.

The 86th International Match Point victory of the Mainlanders—Helen Sobel, Mary Jane and Jules Farell, Ivan Erdos, Don Oakie, Richard Frey and your reporter—was due in large measure to greater experience. The Islanders fell behind by 50 IMPs on the first 20 boards. But Clara Watanabe, Valentine Anastasopulos, Jen Hu Chang, Ton Seek Pai, Gerald Pool, Fitz Donnell, Don von Eisner and Harry Fishel thereafter gave a powerful account of themselves.

Bidding played its customary role in the Mainlanders' victory. For example:

Both sides vulnerable West dealer

NORTH

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

WEST

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

SOUTH

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

EAST

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

WEST

PASS
PASS
PASS
PASS
PASS

NORTH

1 [Diamond]
1 [Spade]
3 [Diamond]
5 [Heart]
PASS

EAST

PASS
PASS
PASS
PASS
PASS

SOUTH

1 [Heart]
3 [Club]
3 [Heart]
6 [Heart]

Opening lead: jack of clubs

The best bidding is a simple, chatty conversation between partners, with careful notice taken of anything the opponents may contribute to the discussion. The fewer the calls upon complex conventions the less chance that partner will fail to understand exactly what you mean. Tune in on the "conversation" between Helen Sobel (North) and this reporter (South).

Helen: One diamond. [I have an opening bid: at least 13 points and a biddable diamond suit.]

CHG: One heart. [At least 6 points, and a biddable suit but fewer than 19 points, since I did not jump shift. Of course, you must bid again.]

Helen: One spade. [A biddable spade suit, too, but less than 20 points or I would have jumped.]

CHG: Three clubs. [I have a strong hand. I know you may believe I have a real club suit, but I am deliberately telling a white lie to make sure that you know of my great overall strength.]

Helen: Three diamonds. [Now you know I have five diamonds and, therefore, only four spades. I prefer to give this distributional picture before raising hearts.]

CHG: Three hearts. [I have a strong heart suit, with at least five-card length. Keep going.]

Helen: Five hearts. [I have better than a minimum hand. I have three trumps in support of your heart suit. I have already shown five diamonds and four spades, so you know I have only a singleton club.]

CHG: Six hearts. [Your singleton club is exactly what I need to be sure of making 12 tricks.]

And so it proved. South was able to trump a club in dummy and, after knocking out the ace of hearts, discard the remaining club loser on one of dummy's high diamonds. At the other table, however, when the Islanders held the North-South hands, South, after his partner's rebid of one spade, elected to call three hearts, and North was content to raise to four. North contended, in mild South Pacific tones, that partner might have taken further action, and South insisted that North should have taken a more vigorous step than a mere raise to four hearts. This is all quite vague. Frankly, I think our bidding method was more precise in the exchange of information. The same 12 tricks were made, but the 750 slam bonus was worth 13 IMPs to the Mainlanders.

EXTRA TRICK
Paint your distribution clearly when you are sure you have time to complete the picture before the bidding ends.

ILLUSTRATION

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)