Kaplan Nuggets IV: The 90s

 

 

[Hamman reads the cards perfectly, makes 2NT with an overtrick]

Making three, plus 150 (what a waste of talent to have him declarer in a part-score!).

"Chicago Spingold, II", TBW 1/1990, p. 7

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Perhaps you understand why three Wests decided to double four spades after their partner had preempted in hearts. All three are marvellous players, so no doubt the decision is more sensible than it looks to me; perhaps it would be right in the long run. In the short run, though, they were unable to take any heart tricks in defence [declarer made an overtrick]

Ibid, p. 12

 

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[On a 1D opening on: Q63/Q3/QJ10952/K9]

My first bridge partner used to bid on such hands -still does, actually; he would decide later whether to treat his action as a psych or as a light opening.

"Antipodean Bowl, II", TBW 5/1990, p. 6

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There was a swing in both matches when layers impiously chose not to lead their God-given sequence.

"Texas Vanderbilt", TBW 9/1990, p. 9

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[On grand slams:]

It is astonishing how often a player in seven is laying huge odds because the opposing team did not reach even six at the other table.

"Texas Vanderbilt, II", TBW 10/1990, p. 5

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[On keycard disasters]

Many with-it partnerships are up to six aces, plus several queens of trumps -talk about inflation!

"1990 Spingold", TBW 11/1990, p. 9

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[East opens lightly, opponents get to 4S and West doubles]

It is not clear where West got his double of four spades in the Closed Room; perhaps from the same place that East got his opening bid.

"'90 Spingold", TBW 1/1991, p. 12-13

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This slam had a trifling feature to recommend it: it made (clubs four-three, diamonds three-three, nothing bad elsewhere).

"Swiss teams" (report on 1990 Rosenblum Cup), TBW 2/1991, p. 9

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The Canadians made dubious penalty doubles at both tables (dubious by my standards, but I double fewer voluntarily bid games than most -I figure that good opponents, looking at their cards, may know what they are doing).

"Swiss teams" (report on 1990 Rosenblum Cup), TBW 2/1991, p. 9

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West chose to lead king of clubs, club. (Faithful readers of my reports will know that Ďchose to leadí carries the implication that I would have chosed differently -to me, a trump lead stands out.)

"Swiss teams, II" (report on 1990 Rosenblum Cup), TBW 3/1991, p. 8

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I am reluctant to add this German auction to my vast list of KCB disasters (each one, Jeff assures me, was the fault of the players, not the method), since I do not really know what went wrong.

"Swiss teams, III" (report on 1990 Rosenblum Cup), TBW 4/1991, p. 8
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[A bold game makes after not best defence]

I must say that it would never occur to me to jump to four hearts over three diamonds with those South cards. I suppose that explains why I am writing about worldís championships not winning them.

Ibid, p. 9
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At table 4, Zia was declarer at five clubs (actually, Deutsch was supposed to hold the South cards, but Zia had reversed the board -what a hand hog!)

"Boardwalk Vanderbilt", TBW 6/1991, p. 9

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[They open 1NT on Q 10 7 / 6 5 / K Q J 10 7 3 / A J]

It strikes me as simple justice that the two players who pretended that the West hand was a strong notrump should be the two to miss slam.

Ibid, p. 11

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Four spades is a hazardous contract even if trumps split evenly (it looks as though the Norths at Tables 1 and 3 accepted their own invitations when they went on to game; did they have more confidence in partnerís dummy play than in his bidding judgment?)

Ibid, p. 14

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In four diamonds, they only had to guess the trump suit. Rosenberg was deprived of his chance to show the Vugraph audience what a good guesser he is when Manfield, North, chose the queen of diamonds [=trumps] as the opening lead: plus 130.

"Boardwalk Vanderbilt, II", TBW 7/1991, p. 12

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At Table 3, East had bid spades, so she tried a surprise, the nine of diamonds. Declarer may have been surprised, but he was not dismayed.

"Five days in May" (ITT trials for 1991 BB) TBW 8/1991, p. 6.

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I am ancient enough to remember times when, holding,

AK632/A2/K74/KQJ

you could expect an unencumbered auction, even though you were in fourth seat, vulnerable against not.

Ibid, p. 9

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[West dealer, EW vul. North opens 1H, East has KQ64/10/AQ6543/J3]

Hamman, East at Table 1, chose to overcall in his long suit (probably Iíd do that too; still, Iíd worry that God had dealt me those tiny spots in diamonds as a warning). In the old days, heíd have escaped the axe, but he was done in by a modern negative double when North had a penalty pass. (...)

Sontag, East at Table 2, piously heeded Godís warning, overcalling at the one level in spades. In the old days heíd have been nailed by an immediate penalty double, but the modern negative-double style let him escape.

Ibid, p. 11

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[East was first to speak, love all, with

J109863/72/--/KQJ104; this was opened 1S, 2S and 3S at the other tables.]

Meanwhile, Gerard, East at Table 3, had taken the old-fashioned view that if his hand didnít look like a one-bid, two-bid or three-bid, maybe he ought to pass it.

"Five days in May, III" (ITT trials for 1991 BB) TBW 10/1991, p. 5.

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[North has A9652 in diamonds opposite Southís KQJ10753]

I must confess that if I held the South hand when my partner overcalled in diamonds, I could not resist the temptation to raise. However, the two players in that position were made of sterner stuff. [They bid 3NT]. And, naturally, the one North player whose partner overcalled in diamonds could not be expected to show such meagre support. This was, after all, the Open trials -who plays in diamonds?

Ibid, p. 6

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This led to a huge swing after Sutherlinís courageous four-spade bid (...) (I would have used a different adjective had he taken a painful penalty).

Ibid

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[A sacrifice at favourable vulnerability goes for 1100]

Nonvul versus vul isnít all that favourable nowadays.

Ibid, p. 7

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[At third position, non vul. against vul., Zia opens 1NT strong with 43/1084/3/KQJ10872]

Zia, West at Table 2, counted 6 points extra for length plus 3 for shortness to reach the value for his notrump opening. The three-notrump contract he reached temporarily was indeed the winning spot, although for North-South.

"Las Vegas Spingold, II", TBW 1/1992, p. 6

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ZIA went farther ahead when Meckstroth-Rodwell (I know youíre not going to believe this) stopped at two spades with 26 high-card points plus two five-card suits, without a misfit -and they were right.

Ibid, p. 8

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[South is void in clubs]

No doubt, South tried to lead the club pip from his hand diagram when he won the ace of hearts, but the humorless directorial staff would not allow that.

"The 1991 Bermuda Bowl", TBW 2/1992, p. 11

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[On unsound penalty doubles:]

The Laws should really allow a player who has made a penalty double to look at his cards again, then undouble.

"K.C. Vanderbilt", 7/1993, p. 13

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I cannot tell you what it was about those West cards that induced two players to start doubling (...) Perhaps it was the vulnerability -there is a widely held theory that your side can take more tricks than theirs when you are vulnerable and they are not.

"Tribulations", TBW 9/1993, p. 5

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Cohen, South, did not think that the good Lord intended him to be dummy at five diamonds. [He held A109xxxx-Qxxxx-x-/]

Ibid

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A diamond lead would have killed the contract [3NT] immediately, but Ekeblad, West, trusted his partnerís overcall than his God-given sequence.

Ibid, p. 6

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[On a difficult hand valuation argument]

I could happily argue either side of that argument (of any argument, some say, unkindly.

Ibid, p. 8

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[West has to lead against 6NT holding:

J 2/ J864/ Q 10 8 /Q 6 5 3]

It is my idea of hell to be on lead against six notrump with the West hand.

Ibid, p. 12

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The auction at Table 1 shows "when in doubt, bid one more" gone berserk. (...) Northís six hearts bid looks bizarre to me. Eastís six spades might be justified if he had a strong feeling that his screenmate was never going to stop bidding. Right! Seven hearts doubled went down 800, 12 imps to Spingold against the 200 scored from five hearts doubled at Table 2.

"Tribulations, II", TBW 10/1993, p. 5

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Majors score more only when you make something; after opening on that trash, you go down.

Ibid, p. 13

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As Levin, West, suspected, there was no duplication of values, but there werenít many values.

"Tribulations, III", TBW 11/1993, p. 10

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The North-South auction in the Open Room was confused. It ended, like most confused slam auctions, in six notrump.

"Tribulations, IV", TBW 12/1993, p. 33

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[North has AKQxxxx opposite partnerís singleton; 6C is on]

Three Norths did have a sort of transfer available, but no one succeeded in persuading partner to utter the word "clubs."

"Washington Spingold", TBW 1/1994, p. 8

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Iíve never understood why they say that down one is good bridge. [after a partscore went one down; with the same cards, Meckstroth made 3NT+1] Making an overtrick -thatís good bridge.

Ibid, p. 12

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At Table 1, Aa, East for Norway, followed the general rule for freak hands: bid one more -nothing really ghastly happens to the declarer.

"Bowls of Chile", TBW 3/1994, p. 7

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[First to speak at favorable, Leufkens holds:

984/J4/QJ987/763 with 2C, showing 0-5, any pattern or very strong]

How could anyone else bear to pass the South cards, first seat at favorable vulnerability? In my youth, almost everyone -even Norman!- opened that hand.

Ibid, p. 12

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[Bergen (and Zenkel in another match) open a 10-12 1NT on:

A107/1093/K4/J7632]

Bergenís daring one-notrump opening (on a different result I would use a different adjective) ...

"Bowls of Chile, II", TBW 4/1994, p. 3

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The "Law" misled one of its most ardent fans here. Cohen (...) could expect that each side has a nine-card fit, in which case, according to the Law, there would be 18 total tricks, not enough for the five lecel. Even if partner had a five-card heart suit, 19 total tricks, a five-level save could not be very profitable. Illegally, though, there were actually 20 total tricks available, ten to each side: the Dutch 620 gave them 11 imps.

Ibid, p. 11

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It is astonishing how much controversy is caused by players who, trying to be helpful, tell their opponents not what the partnership has agreed but what they think a call should mean.

Ibid

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[The auction: 1S-4NT/5S-7D, with one ace missing]

Sanborn intended her five spades to show two key cards plus the queen of trumps. McCallum understood two aces plus the spade king. Oh, for the simple days when the deck had only four aces!

"Bowls of Chile, IV", TBW 5/1994, p. 19

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[Mc Callum opens weak 2D, Sanborn jumps to 5D while six is on; then Zenkel overcalls 5H and buys the contract undoubled]

In my youth, women bid more gently. In the Open Room, McCallumís weak two-bid contained two aces more than it might have, nonvulnerable, which explains her partnerís conservatism.

(...)

Another ruff had been available [to the defenders], but who wants to collect 200 undoubled (particularly when cold for slam)?

"Bowls of Chile, IV", TBW 6/1994, p. 14

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... some small swings on what appears to the naked eye to be an one-notrump deal, although modern methods did not all agree with that observation.

Ibid, p. 12

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Wolff, dealer, allowed the favorable vulnerability to persuade him to open an uncharacteristic three hearts on,

6 5 4 3 / Q 10 9 7 5 2 / 10 / 5 3

This would be routine for one of the young modernists, who no doubt do well with their style, but Wolff is no kid -so, of course, he got nailed. Double by LHO, all pass -down 500, with his teammates plus 90 at the other table.

"San Diego Spingold", TBW 10/1994, p. 5

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Because of Westís opening bid, the spade finesse was unattractive (...) (even Rodwell might occasionally have been dealt 13 points.)

"San Diego Spingold, II", TBW 11/1994, p. 8-9

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On lead against six diamonds, Soloway, West, no doubt reached for the king of hearts, but it was the king of spades that hit the table. [The cards lie extremely lucky for declarer, Wolff; Kaplan notes:] When you are president of the WBF, the cards behave for you.

"San Diego Spingold, III", TBW 12/1994, p. 5

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[Opener bids 4S, passed out to East]

In the Closed Room, Rodwell, East, doubled four spades, which would have been fine if it have been for penalties, but to pass partnerís first double is considered vulgar nowadays; so, Meckstroth took out to five hearts. Lair, South, doubled that, which probably would have been fine if North had passed (...) But, of course, Passell, North, took out. Eastís second double was respected: down 300.

"San Diego Spingold, IV", TBW 2/1995, p. 8-9

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In my experience, five times as many imps are lost in competitive auctions by passing as by bidding.

"Knockout in New Mexico", TBW 3/1995, p. 7

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I cannot explain why Gawrys (...) decided to double five hearts (maybe he is a devotee of the popular superstition that when a nonvulnerable side goes to the five level it is always sacrificing).

"Knockout in New Mexico, II", TBW 4/1995, p. 9

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[Defending against a 7H off A-K of trumps]

West led a club against seven hearts doubled, giving East a ruff. Now Balicki, East, decided to cash his ace of trumps before the mice could get at it [and crashed partnerís bare king]: down only 300.

"Knockout in New Mexico, III", TBW 5/1995, p. 24

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[West leads against a doubled and vulnerable contract blowing a trick]

Against Kokish at Table 2, in two spades doubled, West led 300 points, the spade nine: down 500, 14 imps to Canada.

"Bowls of China, II", TBW 2/1996, p. 4

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Westís double of five diamonds at Table 1 seems to me to have little relation to his hand. A priori, the opponents are unlikely to be able to take 11 tricks on any deal, but the fact of their bidding five must change the odds.

"Vanderbilt in Philly", TBW 8/1996, p. 4

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The defense against four diamonds was clever (...) making six, plus 170. Why clever? Because when the opponents have missed a touch-and-go game, it is a good idea to let them make overtricks.

Ibid, p. 9

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[RHO opens 1H, you double on A72/3/AK76432/AJ and RHO jumps to 4H passed to you]

This is the sort of decision that gives bridge players ulcers: if you bid five diamonds, you could be down three when you could beat them in top cards, yet either five diamonds or four hearts -or both- could be a make. My scarred stomach tells me that, over a lifetime, it is better to bid, and so it proved here.

"Vanderbilt in Philly, II", TBW 9/1996, p. 21

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I do not guarantee I'll never open one notrump holding a five-card major, but so far in a long bridge career I have never found the occasion to do so.

"Vanderbilt in Philly, III", TBW 10/1996, p. 9

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According to the "Law", there should be a total of 23 tricks for the two sides; had there been, NICKELL would have gained 17 imps. In reality, there were only 20 tricks taken altogether, so ZIA won 12 imps.

Ibid, p. 14

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[North opens 1D on J963/Q96/K10532/A, South goes on to 3NT on

AQ10/8542/J/KQ643; 3NT made at both tables after friendly defence and lie of cards.]

There is this striking aspect of the modern style, as practiced by Meckstroth-Rodwell and Stewart-Weinstein the North hand is a routine opening bid (after all, it is a nine over average in high cards), yet a hand like Southís is deemed strong enough for game (as it would be, just barely, opposite an old-fashioned opening).

"The road to Rhodes, II", TBW 12/1996, p. 5

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At Table 2, Meckstroth was declarer at three notrump with unaccustomed strength [25 HCP] -he is more comfortable with 21 HCP.

Ibid, p. 7

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[Kaplan is about to analyze a complex play involving a hold-up]

Before continuing, make sure that none of your lovable aunts and uncles -you know the ones I mean; they always lead fourth best, cover an honor with an honor, and so on- arenít reading over your shoulder. They might get the right idea about bridge.

"The road to Rhodes, IV", TBW 2/1997, p. 7

 





 

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