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Grand slam or bust

Jan. 15, 1962
Jan. 15, 1962

Table of Contents
Jan. 15, 1962

Table of Contents
Twice Two
Jolly Lark
  • A lusty chip off England's finest old block demonstrates the versatility and verve of his famous grandsire as he captains the Oxford ski team to victory in its annual race against Cambridge at Z√ºrs, Austria. Despite his skiing responsibilities, young Churchill, 21, an aspiring journalist, took time to boost the morale of both spectators (above) and teammates (following pages), and to write this account, the first article he has published outside his native country

Pro Football
Nature
Basketball
Yesterday
19th Hole: The Readers Take Over

Grand slam or bust

Next week bridge players in or near some 60 U.S. cities will begin competition in a unique tournament: they will play the first of seven weekly sessions of the North American Rubber Bridge Championship in their own groups of eight pairs, scoring at regular rubber bridge. The finals will be held in Chicago, where the winners will play an exhibition match against Mrs. Helen Sobel, my favorite partner, and me on my Championship Bridge TV show. Winners and runners-up in the tournament will receive the usual cash awards paid by the TV show.

This is an article from the Jan. 15, 1962 issue Original Layout

Tournament bridge has grown tremendously in the past few years, but there are still many players who don't know how to play tournament duplicate or who prefer the rubber bridge game. So this tournament should be popular with all kinds of bridge players. Scoring is much as it would be in your regular home game, although tactics are governed by the pressure of time, as shown in the following deal:

North-South vulnerable North dealer

NORTH

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

WEST

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

SOUTH

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

EAST

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

NORTH

1 [Club]
3 [Spade]
6 [Spade]

EAST

PASS
PASS
PASS

SOUTH

2 [Spade]
5 N.T.
PASS

WEST

PASS
PASS
PASS

Opening lead: queen of diamonds

That is the way the bidding would go in an ordinary rubber game with expert players using a convention known as the grand slam force. When South gets a spade raise, the main thing he wants to know about partner's hand is whether it includes both the missing trump honors. The Blackwood method isn't precise enough. Assuming that partner shows one ace and two kings, South won't know whether one of these is the king of spades. And, while he might be willing to risk a missing king in a side suit, he doesn't want to bid a grand slam lacking the king of trumps. In this emergency, a conventional bid of five no trump not preceded by four no trump asks partner to bid six in the agreed suit if he holds only one honor; seven if he holds both.

However, another factor enters into the bidding in a rubber bridge tournament. Suppose this is the last hand and your side is more than 1,630 points behind. It won't do you any good to bid and make a small slam; you have to bid a grand slam in order to win. So, in such circumstances, instead of bidding five no trump you simply bid the grand slam, because nothing less will do. In some respects, bidding and play are both easier when there can be only one possible result and only one possible way to achieve it. If you need the score for a grand slam, when you pick up this hand you simply close your eyes and bid it. And, having bid seven, lacking the king of spades—as you discover when dummy goes down—there is only one way to play for the contract. It won't do any good to find a singleton king of spades and drop it by playing the ace. You will still have to lose a trump trick. Your only chance to avoid the loss of a trump trick is to find West with exactly three spades to the king and East with exactly the 10 and the 9.

So, when you win the first diamond, you lead the queen of spades. West probably won't cover, so you duck it, and when East's 9 appears it looks as if you have found the winning combination. Your next play is the jack of spades. If West covers, you win with dummy's ace and the fall of East's 10 promotes dummy's 8 to top rank. So you draw West's last trump and lay down your hand for the balance of the tricks.

EXTRA TRICK
If you are a good bidder, it will seldom happen that you find yourself in a contract for which there is only one possible play. But, when the occasion arises, it is worth considerable study to figure out a possible combination that might bring home your forlorn hope.

ILLUSTRATION