ACBL Bridge Beat #68: Scientists v Traditionalists Deals

In Sports Illustrated, Charles Goren commented:

Both teams were frequently hampered by their own bidding methods and occasionally this happened on the same hand.

Dlr: South ♠ J 10 7 5
Vul: None J 7 5
A 10 7 5 2
♣ J
♠ 8 6 2 ♠ 4 3
9 8 6 3 A Q 4
Q J 6 4 9
♣ 10 3 ♣ A K 9 6 5 4 2
♠ A K Q 9
K 10 2
K 8 3
♣ Q 8 7
West North East South
(Stayman) (Hayden) (Mitchell) (Becker)
Pass Pass 3♣ Pass
Pass 3 All Pass

Becker-Hayden do not use the Stayman convention so Mrs. Hayden passed Becker’s notrump bid. Vic Mitchell wanted to bid 2♣ with this hand, but that would have been Landy, requesting partner to choose between the majors. So he bid 3♣, a contract that would have been set 300, had the opponents doubled. However, Mrs. Hayden bid three diamonds – which she barely made.

At the other table Roth-Stone, using the Stayman convention, bid four spades. East won the club lead and shifted to hearts. Roth, sitting South, had no option except to play for the queen to be to the right. He lost only one heart, one club and one diamond trick, making game for a score of 420, a gain of 7 IMPs.

In the New York Times, Alan Truscott wrote:

Nearly all of the gains and losses were the result of skill, judgment or luck.

The deal below helped the “scientists” to move into the lead. Bidding to 6 was largely a matter of judgment, but at three minor points, science showed to slight advantage.

Dlr: West ♠ A 9 8 7
Vul: E-W A K 8 5 3
A 8 6 2
♣ —
♠ 5 4 ♠ K 10 6 3
Q 10 9 6 J
J 3 10 9
♣ 7 6 5 3 2 ♣ K Q J 10 9 8
♠ Q J 2
7 4 2
K Q 7 5 4
♣ A 4
West North East South
(Jordan) (Robinson)
Pass 1 2♣ 2
Pass 3♣ Pass 3
Pass 3♠ Pass 4♣
Pass 4 Pass 4
Pass 6 All Pass

Robert Jordan was North and Arthur Robinson was South, using a bidding style based on Roth-Stone. South’s bid of two diamonds virtually guaranteed a game. North was then prepared to drive the bidding to 6. He made a cue-bid of 3♣ and followed with other exploratory bids in the hope of reaching a grand slam.

West led a club, and Robinson had to plan the play carefully. He needed three tricks from the spade suit in order to discard his heart loser, so the handling of the spade suit became the vital factor in the play.

East’s vulnerable overcall of two clubs strongly indicated that he held the ♠K; Robinson, therefore, won the first trick in his hand and discarded a heart from the dummy. Trumps were drawn in two rounds, and dummy was entered by ruffing a club. A low spade was led and East put up the king.

South could then claim 12 tricks. It would not have helped East to play low on the spade lead. South would have won with the queen, entered dummy with a heart and led another low spade to the jack.

When the hand was replayed East made a “scientific” weak jump overcall of 3♣. This crowded the bidding for North-South and they reached only 5. This was perhaps well for them, because East’s preemptive jump had not betrayed the position of the ♠K; South misjudged the spade situation and only made 11 tricks.

Robert Jordan

Robert Jordan

Arthur Robinson

Arthur Robinson

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