CULBERTSON-4. 

The doctor saves the day, or?.....

Far away in the space, almost 200 light years from the planet we call earth, lies the space station Culbertson-4. If some of you wants to know witch year it is, I must disappoint you, because I don’t have a clue (and I don’t care). Here in deep space the time is relative, but I know that it has to be some hundred years since Culbertsons death. If you don’t know who Culbertson is, I can tell you that he invented the game we today call bridge.

There is always over 1000 people , and other creatures from far away planets, in the space statinon. Culbertson-4 is in fact a sort of modern «gas-station» for spaceships that needs repairs and fuel. The station is also a recreation place for the crew where they rest before they must continue their long journey. Culbertson-4 is well known through the galaxy for their good bridge and therefor many players wants to challenge the stations famous players.

Gordon Fikse woke up 4 o’clock in the morning by an irritating buzz. It was the calling phone and Fikse dragged himself to the control panel and pressed the button to receive the call. «What’s up?», he asked tiredly. «It is a catastrophe» , shouted a voice at the other end. Fikse understood right away that it was that irritating doctor Agmon Duus who was bothering him so early. «Yes but what is wrong», asked Fikse and felt awake. «I was playing bridge over the intcomsat with some friends from planet Faxilo», said Agmon Duus. «Then my computer broke down just when I was going to make a slam. You have to fix my computer right away so that I can finish this rubber."

Fikse lost his temper and shouted out «Do you know that the clock is 4 A.M. It is in the middle of the night. This can wait to the morning». «No, this can’t wait», said Agmon firm. «I refuse», said Fikse and broke the conversation. Then he cursed the doctor and tried to sleep. He had just placed hid head on the pillow when the calling phone buzzed again. Fikse jumped up an ran to the phone again. It was no surprise that it was the doctors voice Fikse heard. «You must absolutely come right away. Remember that I often has to take a night visit when you are ill. And night and day is just a defining question were we are».

Some minutes later Agmon Duus sat in deep thoughts over his bridge problems, when Fikse came rushing in to the room. Agmon looked up from with a big smile. «There you are, deer friend. I was thinking about if I should try a simple squeeze or a double squeeze on this board. Would you hurry up and repair what’s broke. My bridge friends must be waiting unpation for my next master move». Fikse walked to the computer and took a quick look at the data components.

«Do you have any painkilling Klafos for me», asked Fikse and walked to the sink to get some water. «Are you ill», asked Agmon and gave Fikse a little blue pill. To Agmons surprise Fikse threw the pill in to the computer and poured the glass of water the same way. «But wh.. what?», stotret Agmon while thick smoke came from the computer. «Call me tomorrow if it’s not improved», said Fikse before he disappeared out the door.

Fikse woke up 9 o’clock and the Captain stood in front of the bed. "Good morning", said Captain Bonter. «I hear you have been teasing doctor Agmon again». Fikse sat up in the bed and tiredly he rubbed his eyes. «He can irritate a rock», said Fikse and gasped. «I don’t like to be woken up 4 in the morning so that the man can play inter bridge. The Captain laughed and said «It was not the reason that I came here. A cargo ship from Fagi has just landed and the head onboard has challenged us in bridge. 100 000 credits to the winner, and if we refuse they promised that they would spread rumours about our cowardice. So there is more than money at stake. You play will with me». Together they walked to the living quarters exit area and at once they was beamed down to the bridge centre. Many spectators had already gathered because they had heard about the bridge duel that was taking place.

Captain Bonter decided that he and Fikse should play in open room in the first halfround, while Jahn and Dala would play in the closed room. This match was played in RAMA, of course , so that everybody in the base could watch. Fikse and Bonter sat down at the bridge table and a depressed doctor came with their convention card. «cheer up, man», said Bonter. You know that you can’t play when you have played interbridge all the night». Agmon shook his head and threw the convention cards on the table. «I can play better bridge in my sleep than this idiot can awake», said Agmon and pointed at Fikse.

The Fagis came and took their places. They introduced themselves as Arki and Karb and both was system operators onboard the cargoship. The first board was placed on the table, and the match started.

BOARD 1.

After Cosmic control bids and key-card questions, Bonter found himself in 6 Spade. Arkis lead was the king of diamond and captain Bonter took the trick with the ace. Bonter took a long thought and tried to estimate his best chance to make his contract. The time past, but Bonter sat in a deep trance. «When are you going to play a card», said Karb with a grunt after nearly 10 minutes. «I don’t have all the time in the universe». Fikse laugh. «I can bring you a freezing box, so you can take a deep sleep while the captain is thinking».

Bonter ruffed a diamond before he played the ace of heart and a heart to the king. Bonter cashed the club ace and ruffed a new diamond. The trump was drawn in two rounds, and in the lead himself, he ruffed a club in dummy. These cards was left:

Bonter had full control over the end position, and it didn’t matter witch diamond the opponents had. When Bonter played diamond 7 from dummy and discarded a club from his hand, ether east or west was end-played. It was Arki who had the doubtful honour to take this trick. Fikse smiled and congratulated Bonter on his good declaring. Neither Arki or Karb saw what had happened, and now they was arguing screaming to each other because Karb meant that Arki should have unblocked his diamond.

Fikse and Bonter got the upper hand and the IMP’s was running in. When the first halfround was finished, Arki and Karb left the table depressed. Jahn and Dala came walking in to the closed room and the comparison started.

«We started with a bad board», said Jahn. «Our opponents bid 6 spades with 12 tricks». Bonter fetched one of his bad smelling cigars and while he lighted it he said: «Let me guess. The declarer won his twelfth trick with the diamond 7!» Jahn laugh and nodded his head. «Of course Captain. This was our first board, and both me and Dala saw that an end play was in progress. This Fagi Hoa Gando really knows how to play bridge and since we didn’t want to be end played in the first board, we both unblocked the diamond so that the diamond 7 was high. «Well done», said Fikse and patted Jahn on the shoulder. «This Fagi gay can’t really be a top player», said Bonter. «Then he would save his diamond 2, so you had to be end played». The comparison continued and the team from the base was 43 IMP in front after the first half round.

The second half round started and now Bonter and Fikse was going to meet the great Fagi champion Hoa Gando and his assistant Vodo, who also was a good player. In the first board the bridge was at a very high level and the players did no mistakes. When the halfround was nearly half played, the «second of command» came to the table and told Bonter that something had happend, and he had to come.

Captain Bonter asked the opponents if they could delay the match until he came back. Ganro shook his head regretfully and said: «Sorry, we have to leave soon. You could use a replacement?» Fikse shook his head because he knew who Bonter would set in. «Go and get Doctor Agmon at once», Bonter said to one of the spectators. «Do I really have to play with that man», Fikse asked. «Yes», said Bonter. «I have promised Agon that he could play if we needed a replacement, and he has not been looking at the match. We have such a great lead, so what does it matter?»

Bonter disappeared and Agmon came into the room, they could see that he had been running. «We play Standard-tonda», said Agmon. Fikse did not like it, standard-tonda was something the doctor had invented. This convention had the tendency to create a lot of misunderstandings. But the time was not right to start a fight so Fikse agreed, not happily, and he looked at his cards for the next board.

The match started again and the team from the space station was hurting in their play. Agmon looked depressed and said something about being unlucky. In the second last board this accrued:

1D = 18+
1S = 0-6 Hcp
2S = 3 Hcp
2NT = Bid your 5+card suit
3NT = None
(According to Standard - Tonda)

Vodo lead the 8 of heart, and this was taken by the qeen. Agmon saw that 4Spade would had been a better contract, but 9 tricks in NT should be possible to make. He played the ace of spade and a spade to the king, when Vodo discarded a club on the second spaderound he was happy that he wasn’t playing 4spade. The King of heart was taken by the ace, and Hoa Gando took his spadetricks. Vodo discarded a heart and a club. Hoa Gando lead a small diamond from his queen and Agmon took this trick with the ace. Agmon thought he new Vodo’s cards:
S: --, H: --, D: Qxx, C: Kxx. Agmon smiled to himself, he thought that if he played the Jack of diamond Vodo would play low. He then would take the king of diamond and endplay Vodo, so he had to play from the king of club and give the dummy an entry to the queen of club and jack of heart. With this plan Agmon played the jack of diamond, but this was the cards remaning:

Hoa Gando had to take the trick with the diamond queen and he was end played. Surprised could Agmon observ that Hoa Gando had to give the dummy two tricks and the contract was made.

«I saw it right away», smiled Agmon. «If I had cashed my diamond king, I would have got 4 diamond tricks, but then I have two club losers.

The last board was quickly played and their team members from the closed room came to join them in the compering. The lead they had from the first round was quickly disappearing. Agmos mistakes was costing them big. When two scores was remaining the Fagi-team had a lead on 5 IMP. «The opponents played 4spade on the second last board», said Jahn. «I found the lead in club, an lucky for us the declarer went up with the queen». Agmon laugh. «I full control in 3NT. Without any difficulties I end-played Hoa Gando. 13 IMP’s to us».

The space station had won with 8 IMP. Agmon walked around and received his congratulations from the players that couldn’t play bridge. «I had to help the team, so they could assure the victory», Agmon said. «My brilliant declaring in 3NT saved the victory. I was a shame that the victory wasn’t greater , but Fikse didn’t use the best line-up!» Fikse was standing a bit away, he was being comforting by Captain Bonter. «Don’t bather that man», Bonter said. «Those who know bridge saw what happened.» Fikse tore the convention-card with standard-tonda.

«What happened since you couldn’t play», asked Fikse. «Someone opened the cargo doors and several tons of food was sucked out in space», answered Bonter. «Luckily we managed to save most of it». Fikse and Bonter went to the dining room to eat a good dinner. «Who do you think did it», asked Fikse while they ate. «I really don’t know», said Bonter and wiped some soup from the chin. «It is wrong to blame somebody without solid evidence, but I must confess that my prime suspect is the gays from Fagi. I have even thought that the good doctor could have done something crazy to get the opportunities to play. Although Agmon came to the rescue like a saving angle». Fikse looked surprised at Bonter. «Have you talked with the crew from Fagi?» Bonter fetched another cigar and lighted it before he answered. «The cargo ship left right away when the bridge game was finished. I think it will be a long time before we will see any of those from Fagi again. And if they decide to show up here again I hope they bring me 100 000 credits or a transfer order for our dear doctor Agmon Duus.

Space station Culberson-4

- Little cards are also big.

The space-stations best player, according to him self, came into the bridgeroom, while he looked around after someone he could show off for. The intercom playing had not gone well for him lately. He did not choose the right way of play and his partners was morons with no knowledge of bridge. The worst thing, Agmon thought, nobody had heard about him, and nobody knew the GREAT system Standard-Tonda (He had invented). Had nobody heard about his great victory over the team from Fagi?

The daily evening-tournament was soon going to start and Agmon hoped to find a player good enough for his level. Agmon passed Captain Bonter and Jahn. In his opinion they didn’t appreciate him enough. In the far end of the room Agmon could see a free seat at one of the tables, he ran to the table. Then he asked the Wandieser who obviously was missing a partner. «Are you waiting for some one?», Agmon asked. The big green creature (some Wandieser are in fact gray) looked up at Agmon and said: «I was going to play with Dharanto, but he got inflammation in both stomachs. Now he is sitting in my bathroom, that shit-head!» Agmon shook his head: «The nerve on somebody. Do you want to play?» «Okay, I don’t have anything else to do anyway», the Wandieser said.

«By the way my name is Bahm, and our opponents are Gab, who is Ka with my father and uncle, and Strom who comes from the planet Cybra». Agmon shook hands with his partner and opponents. «I am Agmon Duus», he proudly said, but to his disappointment they didn’t give any sign that they knew who he was. «What is Ka?» Agmon asked and stared at the creature who called himself Strom. He was about 1 meter long and looked like a human, but in the face he had something that looked like a pigs nose. It was over 10 cm long . The eyes , and there was three of them, was sitting on the tip of the nose! Everything looked a bit comic, Agmon though. «Hello there», Bahm said. «Yes?», Agmon answered. «Don’t you agree?», asked Bahm. Agmon looked confused at Bahm. «Agree to what?» Bahm looked irritated at Agmon: «I said that Ka is the same you call married, and we play Galactic Standard. Don’t you agree?»

Agmon gaped at Bahm «Do you mean that this one here», he pointed at Gab, «lives together with your father and uncle?». «Yes, what about it?», asked Bahm. «You can be Ka with anyone as long as you love itch other». «But, don’t female and male live together?», Agmon wondered. Bahm and Gab started to ground an annoying sound, something Agmon presumed was a laugh. «Are you crazy?», Bahm asked. «That’s absurd». Agmon tried to change the theme and asked: «We play standard-tonda. You know that don’t you?». But to his surprise Bahm never heard about it, and after a long time Agmon convinced Bahm to use the system. Bahm just nodded confused of what Agmon told him, the lector was stopped by the tournament director throwing the first board on the table.

(Strom - Looks like a human.....?)


(12-15 HCP without 5 card suit /, according to Standard-Tonda)


Gap lead the diamond king and Agmon looked satisfied at the dummy. Bahm said thanks and ducked the lead. The continue was the diamond queen, and the ace in the dummy took that trick. Bahm played a spade to the jack and a club to the ace. Another spade was played from the dummy and Strom used the ace. He continued with the king of heart witch was taken with the ace, Bahm now played a club to the queen on his hand. When the club was 3-1, it was not possible to make more then 8 tricks, since the club was blocked.

While Bahm was punching the score into the little computer Agmon looked irritated at Bahm’s cards. «Are you crazy?», Agmon asked and pointed at his cards. «Is it possible to bid such a stupid with such a weak hand. You only have 6 Hcp!» «Weak cards?», Bahm shouted. «My cards was to strong! If I had the 2 of club instead of the 7 the contract would be made. I also had 9 tricks if the club broke 2-2. Don’t come here and come here!». The result popped up on the screen. «Almost a top for you», Gab sighed. «Almost everybody has played 8 and 9 tricks in spade.» «There you see», Bahm said. «My bid was just to perfect!».

Agmon couldn’t believe what he heard, and he was sure that this was going to be a long night. It was a long time since he had played with such a jerk, but he guessed that the Wandieser hadn’t more intelligence. The second board looked like this:

(7-8 HcP according to Standard-Tonda)


The double from Agmon was one of his principle. When the opponents is doubled, they go banana and goes down in a cool contract. This was Agmon’s philosophy not mine!) Agmon lead the ace of heart , but to his disappointment the lead was ruffed with 9. The only chance to beat the contract was if the ugly animal in south had max 2 spades, Agmon thought to him self.

Gab played the ace of spade and another spade to the king. A new spade was played and Gab ruffed with the 7 of diamond. Agmon could not believe his eyes. With a scornful laughter he ruffed with the eight, but the laugh stopped in his trough when the declarer ruffed the heart return and played the ace of diamond and the 5 to the tables 6. Now Gab could discard his club loser's on the spades in the dummy.

When Agmon came to him self he started to yell to Bahm. «Idiot, why didn’t you bid 6 heart?! We have 10 tricks.» Bahm just nodded his head and answered: «Because the contract was down if you hadn’t ruffed over the 7 of diamond».

Agmon mumbled something about stopping the squeeze and he took his cards for the next board.

Against 4 spade Agmon lead the ace of diamond. He then played the 10 of club, witch was taken with the queen. Another diamond brought Agmon in lead with the king. Since Agmon didn’t know who had the 8 of club he played another diamond. Gab threw a heart from his hand and played a spade to the ace. Now the trump 8 was played to the king and a heart ruff to the 7.

Now Gab played the 4 of spade, and Agmon followed with the 3. He was soon going to regret that when Gab played the 5 in the dummy. He stole another heart, and Agmon had to follow with the king. A spade to the king in dummy and Gabs club looser could be discarded on the queen of heart.

Bahm wrote the score in the computer. «Almost no points partner», Bahm said to Agmon. «Almost everyone has made 10 tricks, bud everybody has played 3NT. If you had used you 6 on the 4 of spade the declarer will only make 10 tricks. Then we would get a great score of 84%.

Suddenly Agmon saw Fikse who just arrived into the room, he whistled on him. Fikse came to the table. «You have to take over for me, Fikse», Agmon said and he stood up from the chair. My head is hurting, and it’s not getting better. I can’t think clear». Fikse didn’t want to but he sat down and Agmon disappeared.

«We play galactic standard», Fikse said. «At last someone rational», the wandieser Bahm smiled. «That person I played with only would play something he called Standard-Tonda. That system was stinking if you ask me, and he couldn’t play his cards either. Who was that idiot?» Fikse laugh and said: «Only a doctor who plays once in a while.» «He could learn something about small trumps. They should be dealt with carefully», Bahm said.

 

(Bridge on the space-station Culbertson 4. From the left:
Bahm, Gab, Agmon og Strom)

Another place in the space-station Agmon Duus logged on to the intercomnet. A lot of text rolled onto the screen. Agmon smiled and wrote: - The great master Duus is back. You know Standard- Tonda don’t you? :)

Space station Culbertson -4 

- The Galactic Championship.

They came from everywhere to play the final in the Galactic PAIR championship. The field of 420 pairs had qualified threw tournaments on their respective planet. Since the final was being played on the space-station Culbertson-4 the base had 10 pairs as an recognition. Agmon Duus was not to happy since he wasn’t one of these pairs. He skulked around the base not to eager to talk to anyone. When he was asked to deal cards under the tournament he just turned his back and disappeared for two days. The tournament was being played over several sessions and the pairs had to qualify for every session.

Captain Bonter smiled like never before, after the first rounds they had scored 62%. Fikse and Bonter was laying on a good 4. place. They was one of the 50 pairs in the last session, and none of the other pairs from the base had manage that. In the lead was a pair from the planet G17. They had he incredible score of 79% ! You could say that they where in a class for them self. With the second place in reach the started on the final.

After some good boards Bonter and Fikse met a pair from Gryx. Their name was Hami and Doom. A good first board could be the reason for this doubtful bidding sequence:

Hami lead a heart and Fikse didn’t look to happy when he saw the dummy. He could see that 4spade looked like a better contract then 3NT. He tried the queen, but Doom covered with the king. Fikse waited to the third round to use the ace. In the table he discarded a diamond. He now had to hope that west had the ace of spade. Fikse played the king of spade, witch happily for him, was taken by west. West played a club and east’s queen was taken with the ace. Without any hesitation Fikse now played a spade and when west played a small he demanded the 9. When east discarded a club everything looked a bit better. Fikse played spade, and before the last spade the cards looked like this:

When Fikse played the last spade from the dummy Doom in east could throw his cards and 10 tricks was the result. «How in all galactic BANANA did you manage that?», asked Hami depressed. «3NT was a bad contract», Fikse answered and continued: «I had to hope for a 4-1 break in spade so those playing 4spade could get some trouble. It was a bonus that east had all the cards». It was not difficult to see that Fikse liked his own explanation. «It has been like this all day. Our opponents can do what they want and still get a good score», Doom said depressed. Bonter clapped Doom’s shoulder: «Well, remember: This time it went to a good case......» Hami put his finger in his mouth. It was obvious that he didn’t like the last comment from Bonter.

«Hey, look at the score-board. We are laying on second place», Bonter said when he looked at the little monitor on the table. «Yes, but those two in the lead I don’t like», Fikse said. «I never seen any like it as long as I have played tournamentbridge! How is it possible to score so much?»

Nobody around the table had an answer on that question. When Bonter saw Agmon Duus who was look at another table he shouted: «Hey, Agmon! Come over here». Agmon came to the table not looking to happy. «Could you be so kind and get my partner and me something to drink?». Agmon Duus looked angry at the captain and said: «Get it your self!» «My dear Dr. Duus», Bonter said with authorization in his voice. «It was not meant as an request, but an ORDER!!»

Agmon looked insulted, and he was about to leave when Doom said: «Hey, are you the famous Duus? Myself I love intercom net and was surprised not to see your name on the start list.» «I don’t know what you are talking about», Agmon said and almost ran from the table. Gordon Fikse laugh: «That was Duus, but I don’t think he is famous. I believe he was embarrassed not qualifying for this tournament».

In the next round Bonter and Fikse was going to meet the sovereign leading pair, they had now around 80% score. They did not play one wrong card the spectators could tell them. Fikse was not to happy meeting this pair now. They had would be safe on second place with a middle score on the two last rounds.

The pair from G17 was two strange creatures. The didn’t say anything to each other or their opponents. Bader and Grove, their name was, was of the race Brunker. The characteristic with this race was that they are 1.20 meters high. Their arms are a bit to long, and they have a pair of big green oval head. It was told that this race was the race who drove around on earth when humans made «great» UFO discovering. They looked more normal then other races, Fikse thought to himself. He was specially thinking about Strom, from the planet Cybra, who had this fantastic pig-nose with three eyes on it. The round started without any luck for our heroes from Culbertson-4:


Bonter and Fikse meets the leading pair Bader and Grove.

The play went fast.. Bader lead, without hesitation, the 7 of club and after a small from the table, Grove played the 8. He now played a trump and when west later used his diamond ace he played another low club. East could play another trump and Fikse had to go down. Bonter punched the result into the computer and the results come on the screen. «No points at all partner. Everybody has made 10 tricks or defeated a game the other way» Depressed he took his cards for the next board: (The cards are turned 180´ to make it easier for you):

Grove lead a spade. Bonter took a long thinking break before he demanded the 9 in the table. Bader played a small and Bonter took the trick with the ace. The 8 of diamond was played to the 9 in the table. A club to a finesse and another diamond to the Jack. The ace didn’t show and Bonter played another club to a finesse. So far he had got nothing for free and when Grove took the diamond ace and returned a heart to his partners ace, he didn’t get nothing for free either. Bader played a small heart and Bonter took another break when these cards was left:

Bonter stated to think: East had shown 5 spades, 2 diamonds or 4 clubs. If he had 3 clubs the hear was 3-3 and the opponents could take 2 heart tricks, 1 in spade and diamond. With this deal the contract is always made. What if east has 4 clubs and 2 hearts and Bonter lets the heart go to the queen in west? West can the play another diamond, and whatever Bonter does he has to give away 5 tricks because of an blockade. If the dummy takes the trick the opponents has to get the two last tricks in spade, and if Bonter uses the king on his hand, he would be end played and have two hearts loser's on his hand. After this he went up with the king! Then he played the ace of club and when the king didn’t show , he played a spade to the dummy and east had to give the dummy an entry to the diamonds. The opponents got one trick in each suits.

Bonter dried his forehead and the spectators clapped. «Nice played Captain», Fikse said and smiled. The board gave a good score and with a good last round they assured the second place.

Then it was time for the prize-ceremony. The president of the Galactic bridge-federation called the winners to the podium and the two silent players for G17 came up. It looked like they was loosen up a bit and they took the applaud and waved to the audience. Then it was Bonter and Fikse’s turn to receive their prize. Bonter was not a sour looser and he walked right to the winners to shake their hands, but then he tripped on something. He grab Baders hand trying not to fall.

The strange creatures looks happy now.

A sough went threw the audience, because something strange happened. Bonter was laying on the floor, and confused he looked at Bader’s arm. It had been torn off and where the arm used to be a claw was sticking out. Fikse ran forward and torn the head of Bader. The well known head of a Dragme with those ugly antenna. «A Dragme in disguise!!», people shouted. The crowd went crazy. The Dragme was banned from the bridge federation because of their telepathic power. It didn’t take the tournament jury to decide that the Dragme was disqualified.

The audience shouted with joy because they now though that Bonter and Fikse was the champions. Almost everybody was happy, Agmon Duus didn’t like this at all. He didn’t like that Fikse now could brag about being the galactic champion. But suddenly they decided that all the scores against the disqualified pair was going to be stricken, and after going over the scores Bonter and Fikse was beaten by a pair from Iso with only a few points

It was a depressed atmosphere on the base several days later, but Agmon Duus was whistling happy and satisfied while he was logging himself onto the intercom net. -Are Doom on the net, or anyone else from the planet Gryx? Agmon wrote on the screen. The answer was no. Agmon smiled and wrote: - Master Duus is back. Do you know Standard-Tonda?

We have taken away the scene when Bonter torn Baders hand.

Space Station Culbertson - 4

- Weary Christmas.

Christmas was getting close, and captain Bonter was busy going through the inventory list on his portable computer when his nose was suddenly filled with the distinct smell of a near by Wandiesian. A hairy hand tapped him on his shoulder. Bonter turned with a sigh. The Wandiesian was about 7 feet tall and stared right at him. "What is it?", Bonter asked the creature he knew as Bahm. "I just wanted to report that we are being pestered by members of an unknown race.", Bahm replied in his dark furry voice. Bonter was at loss; "I haven't hear of any about any new race on this station.", he said. The creature before him made some weird sounds, and Bonter understood that he was very upset. "These creatures comes charging at us, while constantly repeating their war cry!". Bonter listened carefully to the Wandiesian's tale. He then checked his computer, but as he looked back up he shrugged his shoulders. " I have no reports on anything like what you just told me.", he said, followed by a new upset sound from Bahm. "This is absurd. You don't mean to tell me you haven't seen those red creatures whit their ugly white facial hair, running around yelling ho-ho-ho all the time?" Bahm said, his voice filled with disbelief. Suddenly Bonter understood what Bahm was talking about, he tried desperately to keep his face straight while Bahm continued: "And then they tap our shoulders and try to give us all kinds of strange and disgusting things, probably poisoned as well. One of us tried to eat a sticky and pasty thing the creature gave him, and now he is ill. He has terrible pain in both his stomachs. And all the time they scream ho-ho-ho and merry-Christmas!". Bonter lost it and burst out laughing, but when he saw how offended this made Bahm, he pulled himself together. "What's there to laugh about? This Christmas they are going on about, can not be a good thing. It's making us sick.", Bahm said in an irritated voice. Bonter was now able to talk again: "These creatures, as you call them, are something we humans call Santa's. A Santa is a human in disguise, handing out gifts and cookies. You see, every earth year we celebrate something we call Christmas, and then we eat traditional food, give each other gifts and are kind to one another.". Bahm looked very confused: "Are you telling me that you humans cast of your skin every year, just like some of the other races? Does that mean that you too will change in to one of those horrible creatures?", he asked. " No, but you're misunderstanding me Bahm. Some of us dress up in a traditional suit and put on a mask. The facial hair isn't real.", Bonter explained. Bahm rolled his eyes: "You humans are strange.", he said. "That may well be true.", Bonter laughed, "But if you go check our database you can read all about our Christmas, I am unfortunately too busy too explain it to you now.". "Ok, but can you at least make sure these Santa's stay out of our the Wandiesians faces then?", Bahm demanded. "I will send out a memo on the subject, but it may take a few hours before everyone have read it. The Santa's are normally quite busy this time of year." Bonter laughed as he tried to return his focus to the inventory. Bonter wasn't allowed more than a few minutes peace, before he heard someone calling him from down the hall. He looked up from his computer and spotted Agmon Duus hurrying his way. "Captain Bonter! I found you at last!", Agmon shouted, and waved his hand at Bonter. Bonter was not all pleased to se the annoying medical officer. "I am busy!", he replied bluntly, but the doc didn't even pretend to hear it. "You just have to se this hand." Agmon said in an excited voice, and slipped a piece of paper into Bonter's hand. Bonter sighed and put his computer to rest. If he took a quick look at the note, he might get rid of Agmon in a hurry, he thought, and to his relief there was only on hand on the note. It looked like this:

: Kx , : QT9xx , : KQJ , : KQJ

"This was the deciding game in a team tournament on the intercom net,", Agmon eagered, "you're the dealer and no one is vulnerable.". Bonter asked: "Is this a bidding problem?". "No, the question is what to lead.", Agmon replied. "I had those cards and opened with 1 hearts.". Bonter looked at Agmon: "Isn't this a 15-17 NT?". "I have a great hand here, much too good for a 15-17 NT." Agmon objected. Bonter resigned. He'd just as soon not discuss that particular subject with the doctor. "How did the rest of the auction go?", Bonter queried. "It was really a very simple bidding sequence,", Agmon replied with a tilted smile, "north bid NT and South bid spades.". "Yes, fine, but the contract, where did they end!", Bonter required to know. "North bid 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 and 6 NT, and south followed it up with 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 and finally 7 spades", when Agmon saw the look on Bonter's face, he quickly added: "It's true!". "My goodness!", Bonter exclaimed, "I've never seen such a sequence before.". "Neither have I.", Agmon sighed, and Bonter understood that the game had not ended well for Agmon Duus. "During the auction north explained to me what he thought the bids meant":

 
West North East South North's bids South's bid
1 1NT Pass 2 15-18 NT. -stopper. Both minors.
Pass 2NT Pass 3 better than 3 Spades. 5-4 in minors.
Pass 3NT Pass 4 Negative. No 4-card minor. Cue-bid. 3154.
Pass 4NT Pass 5 Roman Key-Card. 2 aces and queen of diamonds.
Pass 5NT Pass 6 Grand slam invitation. Extra values in spades.
Pass 6NT Pass 7 Contract suggestion. Think not :-)

"It sounds like south had some spades after all.", Bonter laughed when agmon was finished explaining the sequence. "When south bid 7 spades, north muttered something about having forgotten the system. It turned out that they don't use the NT system after 1NT overcall. South's 2 spades was really meant for play. Needless to say, south was very embarrassed.". "But why didn't south stop sooner?", Bonter wanted to know. "South was one of those creatures from Fagi.", Bonter elaborated, "They have a tendency to never give in. In any case, I axed it. I have never had such an obvious double before.". "That sounds reasonable.", Bonter said trying to withhold his curiosity, "So all you need now is the killing lead?". Agmon nodded. You could see in his eyes that he was impatient to hear Bonter's suggestion. And he didn't have to wait more than a minute or so. "Christmas is imminent, isn't it. It must be correct to lead the 10 of hearts.". Agmon's eyes opened wide, and Bonter knew he had made a clean hit. "Why are you leading hearts?", Agmon objected, "Both minors are solid! You're just pulling my leg so you'll get rid of me as fast as possible.". "All right,", Bonter laughed, but he continued in a more conciliatory voice, "I'll explain to you why I think the heart lead is the right one. Because south switched to 2 spades after 1NT he can have 6-7 HCP tops. We also know that north mistook south for having 2 aces and the queen of diamond, and when you yourself have the king of diamonds, which was one of the aces, south have got to have an ace too. With an ace and 7 spades or more, south is not likely to suggest a stop in 2 spades. We can therefore assume that he has no more than 6 spades. Now it's time to count their tricks. Two minor aces plus maximum three heart-tricks is five. Add that to the 6 spade-tricks and you get 11. North can't have any long suit to lean on, as his 3NT showed max. 3-3 in the minors. All this makes it almost certain that the only way to make the contract is a progressive squeeze against west.". Agmon nodded dejected and handed Bonter a new note where all the hands where fully detailed:

 

: AJ7
: AKJ63
: A82
: 72
: K3
: QT974
: KQJ
: KQJ
: 92
: 82
: 9754
: 98654
: QT8654
: 5
: T63
: AT3

"I led the king of diamonds because that was likely to be the dummy's longest suit.", Agmon explained, "The dummy won the trick, and south went to his hand on the ace of clubs and returned the ten of spades. He continue to play trump until he had only one left in his hand, and from dummy he discarded the minor-losers. After 7 tricks, the table looked like this:

 

: -
: AKJ63
: 8
: -
: -
: QT97
: Q
: K
: -
: 82
: 97
: 98
: 4
: 5
: T6
: T3

"When the last spade was played from south, I was finished. If I drop a heart, south can take the finesse and get 5 heart-tricks. Throwing minor doesn't help much, south can just cash in the minor-ten I just made solid and I have the same problem again.". Agmon was clearly not all happy, so Bonter decided to try to cheer him up a bit: "You were very unlucky on that hand, Agmon, and it's not easy to se that the heart lead is the only lead to set the contract no matter how the cards are distributed after this auction.". Agmon sighed again. "We lost the match because of this hand, and all my teammates blamed me.". "Did they really think the heart lead was that obvious?", Bonter asked with disbelief in his voice. "No, of course not,", Agmon replied, "I don't think the others had the slightest clue that a heart lead would set 7 spades. They all think I should have opened in 1 NT, like they did in the other room. And when north overcalled 2 hearts and south switched to 2 spades, the bidding ended in 3H. An absolutely stupid bidding sequence if you ask me, because even if my opponents had stopped in in 4 spades we would have lost the match. I tried to explain that to them, but I don't think they wanted to understand it. They still put all the blame on me and my opening. It's not my fault that they are not capable of evaluated the cards correctly. To them 12 HCP is 12 HCP no matter what the cards look like. My cards in this hand was worth at least 18 HCP, and if my partner had just accepted to play Standard Tonda it had all been easy. I would open in 1 spades, showing 17-19 NT or at least 17 HCP and a 5 card major.". At this point Bonter felt the need to object: "Didn't 1 spades show an undefined minor hand?". " No, that was in the old version, the one from last month.", Agmon corrected, and looking quizzically at Bonter he continued: "Haven't you got my last revisions to the Tonda system?". Bonter shook his head, thinking he now had an excuse not to play that stupid system if he ever had to play with Agmon. "You should rather blame it on north who forgot the system.", Bonter said, feeling really sorry for the doctor as he sighed and took his notes back. "I'm going back to my room.", Agmon said, and started what looked like a long and heavy path to the nearest elevator. Bonter wondered if he should call for Agmon to come back. Since it was Christmas he could be nice and play Tonda with the good doc in the Christmas tournament. "Agmon!", Bonter heard himself yell, and Agmon turned slowly: "Yes, what?". "This is bullocks.", Bonter mumbled to himself. "What? I can't hear you.", Agmon replied. "Uh... I said, you must make sure to send me the new version of Standard Tonda.", Bonter shouted, "Maybe I'll have time to look at it during Christmas.". Agmon turned and entered the elevator, Bonter let go a sigh of relief. He almost did something really stupid there. There must be a limit to how nice one is expected to be, even when it's Christmas.