A GRAND SLAM WITH 007      by Paul Kilduff

In 1960 I took a book out of the school library about contract bridge; it may have been by Victor Mollo. From that day on I was bitten by the bridge bug. A couple of years later, I discovered James Bond and his evil adversaries. One was Goldfinger who cheated at golf but the one I remembered best was Sir Hugo Drax who fancied himself as a great bridge player.

Bond, by sleight of hand, had managed to arrange the hand illustrated and opened 7 clubs which (not surprisingly) was doubled by Drax in the east seat and re-doubled by Bond. The lead from West was D-J but could have been a heart or spade. The lead was ruffed on the table and playing East for all outstanding trumps, Bond finessed a trump. Another diamond was ruffed and the trumps cleared after finesse. A third diamond was ruffed in dummy after which all Bond's diamonds in hand were good. Grand Slam made for a rubber bridge score of +2110.

There has always been much debate about which is the first bidding system. I started with stone- age Acol. Some of my opponents in the early days favoured Nottingham Club, Blue Club or the Americans systems of Goren or Culberstson. Nowadays, Acol is still widely used along with Precision Club or Standard American (particularly if you play on-line).

I believe the Bond hand from Moonraker was designed by Culbertson to show that no bidding system is perfect. It occurred to me years later when I re-read Moonraker that West , Drax's partner Meyer can make 7 Hearts or 7 Spades if he takes out the double. Bond could have lost a fortune! N.B. The major suit grand slam E/W will only make played by East on a club lead-one off on a diamond lead.

(Special Note by G.P.Gupta :-Bidding can be made more logical in Modified Precision System instead of as shown in the article. Dealer South will open 2NT showing both minors suits. Though points are less but fearing opponents to bid Majors he can take that risk. West will pass. Even though he wants sign off in Club finally, on the way North will bid 3H relay for Major suits position. East will double. South will now bid 6 Dia.(double jump to show two majors void & longer Dia.).West has no bid except to pass. Now North will bid 7 Clubs which will be doubled by East & redoubled by South. It makes on any lead by East.)

A MAN ABOUT UNIVERSE      by Bernard Marcoux

Bernard Marcoux won the BOLS Bridge Press Award in 1996 for this article featuring BBO's founder and President Fred Gitelman. Enjoy!

There are no child prodigies at bridge. Why?

Because a bridge player needs certain qualities that belong to an adult. The most needed quality: the agility to think globally, to collect all pertinent clues and to process them in order to obtain an answer covering all bases --- all of them.

The great John Crawford once found himself playing a grand slam, with trumps AKQTxxx facing a singleton, and no losers anywhere else.

While he was pondering (yes, even with 18 tricks, great players make a plan; do you!?) he noticed that no kibitzer was moving away --- everyone was following play intensely. Crawford reasoned that if nobody was leaving there was a reason.

Looking at his cards, he found out the only suit with a possible loser was trumps. That's why the kibitzers were not leaving-there might be a problems in trump. Otherwise people, if able to count to 13 tricks, would have left. So he played a trump to his 10 for 13 tricks, RHO having started with Jxxx. That's really collecting and using all the evidence.

You know the French expression 'homme du monde' (man about universe), the former being superficial and shallow, but the latter sagacious, penetrating, intelligent, visionary. Valery also said that daily events (which attract the socialite) are like the surf on the sea; the really important events run deep and only a man about universe, a visionary, a poet, can see them.

You open 1 in fourth seat and find yourself eventually in 4 without interference. West leads the A

Fred Gitelman of Toronto shows us here all the qualities of a man about universe. After the A, West shifted to the Q.

Fred ducked and West continued spades to East's king and Fred's ace. A, heart to the queen, everyone following. Club ruff to see what's happening. Nothing. Really nothing?

Let's follow the thoughts of a real bridge player, and if this trip doesn't leave you in awe, you're missing life itself.

West has passed in first seat (first technical step) and you know he should have 10 points: AK and QJ (second step). So he should not have the Q, for he would have opened (third step). If East has the Q, you are going down (fourth step). But, to make 10 tricks, you need three diamond tricks, without losing to the queen (fifth step).

Fred concluded that, in order to make 10 tricks, the Q had to be second. Every good technician would have thought along the same lines. But Fred, man about universe, a poet indeed, saw much further, much further, and it is here that bridge becomes poetry.

Do you see a finesse in diamonds (sixth step)? Read again, do you see a finesse in diamonds when you know that the queen is sitting behind AKJ7? How can you take a losing finesse and still win? The majority of bridge players, 'hommes du monde' who live at the surface of things, would have taken the finesse anyway and complained afterwards of their bad luck.

Fred pulled the last trump, pitching a spade, and played the AK (seventh step). East's queen fell, as it had to, but Fred unblocked the 10 and 8 (first step of superior order exclusive to men about universe, poets, real bridge players)!!! Fred ruffed a club back to his hand and played the precious 2 to the ever so precious 7 (ninth step) for +450.

You see, you needed a diamond finesse all right and every socialite can finesse a jack; that's a daily event, obvious on the surf. But only 'un homme d'universe', A Man About Universe, can see so deep as to envision finessing the 7, just for the beauty of it.

Just bidding 4 would have given Fred an average; +450 translated into 99% of the matchpoints. Why can't we obtain 100% when we play perfectly? Even Fred will tell you that 99% is quite all right, because as every man about universe will tell you, the 1% left is a reminder that the game is always greater than the players.

Do you know of a more beautiful game, of a game that shows us so clearly the fathomless power of the human brain?

Note:-All 4 hands are not given in the Article but likely to be as follows

THE SUBSTITUTE      submitted by Mary Martin

A doctor is called away from a bridge tournament to attend to an emergency. There is still the last board to play. They ask a Kibitzer to take his place, even though he knows nothing about the game. They tell him "just bid what you have and follow suit". Kibitzer is sitting South. Bidding proceeds as shown.

Bidding
W N E S
- - - 1
P 2 P 2
P 3 P 3
P 4NT P 7
P P P

play

South takes the lead of King of Spades with Ace, cashed the Ace & King of trumps, came to his hand with the Ace of Clubs and played all his Diamonds. On the last Diamond lead, West was hopelessly squeezed in Hearts & Spades and ultimately discarded Heart whereupon South made the last four tricks in Hearts.

When opposition saw South's hand, they called the director who asked for an explanation of the bidding and got the following reply.

"I was told to bid what I have & I have one club, two spades, 3 hearts & 7 diamonds !"

HAND OF THE CENTURY      by Zia Mahmood

We offer our thanks to Zia Mahmood & Guardian.co.UK

Read the original-Zia Mahmood reported this column in Guardian.Co. UK dated 28-12-2011

This is a candidate for, not only for hand of the year, but hand of the century

We are reproducing it here for all to appreciate Norway's Geir Helgemo

Today's deal was voted hand of the year by the International Bridge Press Association. It involves a type of play previously unknown to anyone except Geza Ottlik and Hugh Kelsey, whose Adventures in Card Play is the most complex bridge book ever written. The star was Norway's Geir Helgemo, who sat South at game all.

This was the bidding:

West led the king of clubs and East played the jack, won by Helgemo with the ace. He cashed the ace of hearts and the king and ace of diamonds, then cashed the king of hearts, then led the nine of spades from dummy … and ran it!

This astonishing first-round finesse was required, as you will see, from the end position that arose.A spade to the jack came next, and with six cards remaining Helgemo led the king of spades from his hand. West had three master cards in hearts and three in clubs, and had to find a discard on this round of trumps. Since North had three low hearts and South had three low clubs, whatever West did would prove fatal. If he discarded a heart, Helgemo would overtake the king of spades with dummy's ace.

Then he would ruff a heart, ruff a club, ruff a heart, ruff a club, and dummy's last heart would be a winner at trick 13. If instead West threw a club, Helgemo would allow the king of spades to hold in his own hand. He would ruff a club, ruff a heart, ruff a club, ruff a heart, and his last club would be a winner at trick 13. An entry-shifting trump squeeze involving a seemingly unnecessary finesse in trumps-but if you follow the play of this incredible deal closely, you will see that the contract would have had no chance if declarer had cashed the ace of spades before leading through East's queen

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