ACBL Bridge Beat #126: Perfect Deals

Orchard Park NY, Feb. 10, 1948 (AP) – Four persons who simultaneously drew four perfect bridge hands were too surprised to play them.
Mrs. Wilfred H. Woods said yesterday her husband, the dealer, drew 13 spades, she 13 hearts, Mrs. Edward Lippincott13 diamonds and Harlan Abbot 13 clubs. The cards were used in previous hands and cut before dealing.
“We were so dumbfounded we just stared at each other. Finally I threw down my cards and said, ‘Something must be wrong,’” Mrs. Woods declared.

Connolly Hall, St. Bonaventure College, New York NY, 1949 – Brooke Plunkett was dealt 13 spades in a rubber bridge game after the cards had been shuffled and dealt many times before. The chance of being dealt this hand is 1: 61,787,402.
The Reverend Theophilus McNulty, OFM was present when the hand was dealt.

Columbia SC, 1950 – A minor miracle occurred at the home of Dr. George Smith while a bridge duplicate was in progress.
According to authorities, it only happens once every 635,013,559,600 times and it looks like this ♠A K Q, A K Q J 10 9, A K, ♣A K. Mrs. Harold Miller dealt this hand and promptly bid 7NT. The unusual hand was notarized.

Corpus Christi TX (AP) May 8, 1951 – William R. Anderson, Jr., in a bridge game last night bid seven hearts. He had all 13 of them.
His wife bid seven spades – she had all 13, too.

Franklin Bridge Center, Franklin Square NY, 1999 – Phil Grella swears the following story is true, and the director who was running the game backs him up. Here’s the story:

As dealer he held ♠K 7 6 5 4 2, A 8 6 5 4 2, —, ♣Q. Feeling devious, Grella passed, waiting “to see what developed.”

That turned out to be a 2♣ (strong and artificial) on his left. “I was licking my chops, well prepared to do that Lightner thing after the auction had ended.”

To Grella’s surprise, his partner muddied the waters just a bit – he bid 7! Grella’s right hand opponent then piped up with a bid of 7♠.

“I thought six to the king might be a trick, so I pulled out the red X card and was glad that I had passed at the start of this,” said Grella.

“Silly me,” Grella continued, “thinking the auction was over.” LHO followed with a bid of 7NT, doubled by Grella’s partner, Everyone passed, and Grella started sweating, sure that LHO had a handful of minor suit cards and the ♠A.

Much to Grella’s relief – not to mention amazement – his partner claimed at trick one. He had all 13 diamonds!

Frank Allison, who was running the game, said the deal was not a phony. He was at the table when the board was dealt and can attest that it was done on the up-and-up. The board was played eight times with the following results: 6♦ doubled, making seven (said Allison: “He thought something funny was going on and didn’t want to chance seven.”); 7♦ three times; 7♦ doubled twice; 7♦ redoubled once and 7NT doubled once.

1995 Fall NABC, Atlanta GA – In a Swiss match, Michael Polowan is dealt a 36 HCP hand – ♠A K Q, A K Q, A K Q, ♣A K Q 8 – and opens the bidding 7NT. He eventually lost a club trick for down one. Interestingly 7♠, 7 and 7 were all cold.

Here is the full deal:

♠ J 8 6 5
J 7 6 5
10 9 4 3
♣ 2
♠ 7 4 3 ♠ 10 9 2
8 3 2 10 9 4
J 8 7 6 5 2
♣ 9 7 6 5 4 3 ♣ J 10
♠ A K Q
♣ A K Q 8
West North East South
All Pass

David Bird and Nick Sarantakos credit this hand as the record-holder in tournament play for the most points ever dealt to one player, highest opening bid ever made and the shortest grand slam auction (note that South was the dealer) in their book Famous Bridge Records.

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