B I G N U M B E R S


Author: Larry Cohen
Date of publish: 01/01/2013
Level: Intermediate

One of my favorite sayings in bridge is, "When in doubt, bid one more on freak deals." One of Marty Bergen's favorite sayings is, "Voids are magical." Both factors came into play on this deal from the Round Robin in the 2000 Olympiad in Maastricht.

Vul: East West
Dlr: North
?A K Q 10 4
?2
?10 6 5 2
?8 6 3
 
?J 9 6 5 3 2
?A 10 9 4
?--
?A 9 4
  ?--
?Q J 8 7
?J 3
?K Q J 10 7 5 2
  ?8 7
?K 6 5 3
?A K Q 9 8 7 4
?--
 

It would have been fun to watch this board at all 36 tables of the Olympiad.

With the heart finesse on, East-West can make all 13 tricks in clubs for 2140.

But, the most common contract was five diamonds by South (usually doubled).

What happens in diamonds? Unless West finds a spade lead (spade ruff, heart over, spade ruff), that contract makes. It might even make six if the defense doesn't get any spade ruffs. In fact, the most common result was five diamonds (doubled) making six, 650 North-South. That's quite a result on a hand where their opponents have a grand slam.

Many Norths opened 1? or 2? . East overcalled in clubs and South introduced diamonds. The race was on. No matter how many diamonds North-South bid, it was always right for East-West to bid one more in clubs--all the way up to 7? . And, conversely, no matter how many clubs East-West bid, it was always right for North-South to bid one more in diamonds, all the way to 7? .

In one round-robin match, Austria won 22 imps against Switzerland by making 1090 on the North-South cards (6?X on a club lead) in one room. At the other table North started with two spades and East overcalled three clubs. Then, a bidding war ended with East playing 7?X, which, of course made for 2330. I know the IMP table fairly well, but I have to admit that I don't know offhand how many imps you win for 3420 on one deal (that's 1090+2330). If you consult the imp table, you'll see that this is 22 imps (just short of the 3500 required for 23 imps). If you want to see how to win 24 imps, look at page 37 of Marty Bergen's POINTS SCHMOINTS.

I actually played on a team once and lost 24 imps. And, it was on a deal where we were -110 against two spades at our table! It turns out that our teammates had a mixup and played in a redoubled cue-bid (a 2-1) fit, down 7 vulnerable; -4000. To lose the maximum of 24 imps you need to lose more than 4,000; 4000 and 110 did the trick. I give my teammate credit for being clever in the comparison. We read, "-110" and he replied "Lose them all."