Fun in Amsterdam by Sam Leckie
Let me take you back to 1966, when the World Pairs Olympiad was played in Amsterdam. One of the six pairs chosen to represent Great Britain were Victor Goldberg and myself.
After one week's play we were in our usual position – under average and not on speaking terms. In fact, our only method of communication was through our good friend, John McLaren (Scottish international), who was attending as a spectator. John carried messages and replies from one to the other "watering down" our language.
Late on in the tournament, playing against the late Herman Filarski (Dutch international and bridge writer), I held
this hand: S AQ542 H 7 D A9 C AT832
I opened 1C and over partner's 1S response, I made a very conservative raise to 3S. Goldberg bid 4C. Now realizing my
previous bid was an underbid I launched into 4NT. Goldberg responded 5S. I asked him to repeat his bid as I thought I
had misheard him (no bidding boxes in those days). He repeated, "FIVE SPADES!"
After some thought, I concluded that there were three possible explanations:
- He held no aces and if he responded 5C, I might have none and take him for all four. In that case, I would bid seven with no aces - a first for us!
- He was in some way trying to alert me that he held a void somewhere by not giving the normal response.
- The heat had gone to him and he had gone completely off his head.
I felt sure it was the last reason. I bid 6S. A card was led and as I placed my hand on the table, a guttural sound came from Goldberg, followed by a loud crazy howl! I was now sure his brain had flipped. He threw his hand on the table and we all looked at it. He had been dealt the same hand as me!
Herman remarked, "You two must be the only pair in the world who cannot bid a grand slam with six aces!" Goldberg's first comment to Filarski was, "Which way should I finesse the SK, Herman?"
(Editor's note: assuming that the defenders were not both dealt the same hand as well, there really is no problem. Just cash one SA and then lead towards the other SA. If trumps are 2-1 you are home. If not, you can still finesse, if you correctly guessed, the defender who was void of spades. An 89% chance).
Fun in Milan, too by Hans-Olof Hallen (Sweden)
Sam Leckie's article reminds me of the Italian pair Mario Franco and Michele Giovine, founders of the Marmic 2D showing three-suited hands. They were considered to be excellent bidders. They were asked to bid the hands below as it would be interesting to see if they could cope with the spade losers. The hands were:
S xxxx S xxxx
H AKQxx H AKQxx
D A D A
C AKx C AKx
The bidding started. West 1H, East 4C and then West said, "Stop it. I have the AKQ of hearts, so you cannot have them!"