ACBL Bridge Beat #42: But What’s Trump?

Here’s an auction written up in the February 1956 Bridge Bulletin by none other than A.M. (Al) Sobel in his regular monthly column:

It may sound silly to start a description of a trip backwards, but that’s the way they do everything in Europe–including the bidding of the French team. They make up their minds before the auction starts what the final contract will be, and then all bids leading up to that contract have meanings that they alone know. Let me give you an example of their bidding:

West East
1♣(1)    1(2)
1(3) 1NT(4)
2(5) 3♣(6)
3(7) 3NT(8)
4(9) 4♠(10)

(1) I’ve got two aces and a king.
(2) You’ve got nothing on me. I also have two aces and a king.
(3) I’ve got two red queens.
(4) I’ve got the spade queen and the two red knaves.
(5) I have a run in clubs and almost ready for gin.
(6) I have three tens.
(7) No good-I have a flush.
(8) By the way, what’s your wife’s phone number. I like her.
(9) You can have it. I don’t like her. Say let’s get to the real bid now. Stayman looks as if he’s ready to double.
(10) The first honest bid!

Upon which everybody passes, or the Americans double (usually) and the contract is made (usually), and with an overtrick to boot (more usually).

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