Mark Horton

The Rabbi goes Slamming

The Rabbi has his own way of approaching potential slam deals, generally preferring the bludgeon to the rapier.

It can work quite well, as witness these two deals from the Rockwell Mixed Pairs:

Dealer: West

Vul: East/West

A 9 5 4 3
Q J 10 6 5 4
A 5
West East
8 3 10 9 5 4
10 8 7 6 2
A 9 8 7 2 K
K J 9 7 6 3 Q 10 4
A K Q J 7 6 2
8 2
West North: Enfield

East South: Helman

Pass 1 Pass 4NT!
Pass 5 Pass 6
All Pass

Conventional wisdom says that you should not use Blackwood with two losers in an unbid suit, but as Victor Mollo’s immortal Hideous Hog would say ‘If they don’t lead the suit it won’t matter.’

With little to go on West tried the ace of diamonds and another singleton king had fallen under the Rabbi’s spell, +980.

Dealer: South

Vul: North/South

Q 7 5
A 8 6
A K Q 9 8 7
West East
K 9 8 A 6 4
9 7 4 3 Q J 10 8 6 5 2
9 5
J 6 5 4 3 2 10
J 10 3 2
K Q J 10 7 4 3 2
West: Wang

North: Enfield

East: Wang

South: Helman

Pass 3NT 4 4♠!
5 6 All Pass

There is an old saying in bridge, ‘with 6-5 come alive’. The Rabbi’s version is ‘with 8-4 bid more.’

Full marks to East for her Four Heart bid, which put her side on course for a great result.

The Rabbi was not prepared to give in easily and when he found the imaginative Four Spades West carried on the good work by going on to Five Hearts. Kay Enfield did not expect to get rich from that contract, so she went on to the diamond slam, leaving West with a decision to make.

There is something to be said for bidding one more, as -500 will still be a good save against a vulnerable game, but West bravely decided to stand his ground.

It was now a question of finding the killing lead, but it was now that West fell from grace by leading a heart.

It is clear that North must have a source of tricks and that can only be in the club suit. There is no point in leading a heart, as North must have control of that suit. A club might be right, but with a void partner might have tried a Lightner double. So, by a process of elimination you are left with a spade. That line of reasoning might have been approved of by the world’s greatest consulting detective:

‘When you have excluded the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth.’

Sherlock Holmes – The Adventure of the Beryl Coronet

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