An incredible bid by Hall-of-Famer Lazard


Bart Bramley, during his introduction of Sidney Lazard as a new member of the ACBL Hall of Fame, told of a hand played by Lazard that defied description. He said that the bidding was out of this world and that the play matched the bidding.


He looked across at Daily Bulletin Editor Henry Francis and said, "Henry, this is something the Daily Bulletin should use."


Well, we don't often use a hand that is almost 50 years old, and we don't often use rubber bridge hands even if it's a high stakes game. But we figured we should go for it if Bramley said it was that good. As usual, Bramley was right -- here's that marvelous hand.


Dlr: East                   S  Q 10

Vul: Both                   H  J 5 4

                            D  Q J 8 7 6 3

                            C  J 4


          S  K J 7 6 4 2                 S  9 8 5

          H  A K Q 9 7                   H  10 6 3 2

          D  10 5                        D  4

          C  ­­                            C  Q 10 7 6 5


                            S  A 3

                            H  8

                            D  A K 9 2

                            C  A K 9 8 3 2


Lazard, South, was a bit surprised to hear Bill Hanna, his RHO, open the bidding 1C. But he knew his opponent -- this man was a frequent psycher. Lazard also knew that East usually had length in the suit in which he psyched. So he took the wait­and­see approach and passed. West responded 1S, and after North, Marshall Miles, passed, East confirmed the fact that his opening bid was a psych by passing.


Finding a bid, knowing that RHO really had length in clubs but nothing else, was a challenge for Lazard. He finally decided on 2NT. He was quite taken a back when he heard West bid 3H. West also knew East had practically nothing, so West had to have considerable strength. North passed and East went into the tank. Finally he raised to 4H.


Lazard found this most interesting. He was virtually certain that East was not deciding between 4H and Pass. He finally  reasoned that East was thinking of returning to spades, then finally raised hearts.


Very interesting indeed! This meant that East probably had five clubs to the queen for his club psych, four hearts to raise partner's second suit and probably three spades to think of returning to partner's first suit. That left room for only one diamond.


What about West? What would his hand look like? Well, Lazard reasoned, he had to have a very good two­suiter to bid to the

three level by himself -- probably 6­5 in spades and hearts. But that left room for a maximum of two diamonds.


Lazard reasoned that his partner had at least six diamonds, a tremendous asset even though it was reasonably certain that

partner was nearly broke. Lazard of course realized how much better this made his hand look, so he took the bull by the horns and bid the diamond slam, even though he had only a four­card suit.


He was totally accurate, as you can see from the full deal. West led hearts, and Lazard ruffed the second with his ace. He cashed the king and crossed to dummy, overtaking his 9 with the jack. Ruffing with the ace and unblocking the 9 was absolutely necessary ­­ entries to dummy would prove to be crucial. Lazard also realized the problems he would cause himself if he tried to ruff dummy's other heart, so he led the CJ. East covered, and Lazard took his king. He crossed back to dummy with the trump queen and cashed another diamond. That left this six­card position:


                            S  Q 10

                            H  J

                            D  6 3

                            C  4


               S  K J 7                S  9 8

               H  Q 9 7                H  ­­

               D  ­­                     D  ­­

               C  ­­                     C  10 7 6 5


                            S  A 3

                            H  ­­

                            D  ­­

                            C  A 9 8 3


Lazard called for another diamond, and East felt the squeeze. He had to keep all his clubs, so he was forced to give up a spade. Lazard led a club to his 9 and cashed the CA. This card put West in the vice.


                            S  Q

                            H  J

                            D  3

                            C  ­­

              S  K J                     S  9

              H  Q                       H  ­­

              D  ­­                        D  ­­

              C  ­­                        C  10 7

                            S  A 3

                            H  ­­

                            D  ­­

                            C  8


Lazard led the C8 and West had to find a discard. He could see the HJ, so he pitched the SJ. Lazard ruffed and led to his SA, dropping the king. He scored his 12 th trick with the S3.