Mark Blumenthal

Tales of the Giant Crab – 3

Sometimes Walt was strangely timid. He held AQJxxxx, Qxx, xx, x. He was undefeated in a Swiss team playing against an aggresive pair. He heard his partner open one diamond. He responded one spade, and his partner reversed to two hearts. Inexplicably, he passed because he claimed the bid wasn’t forcing. (It is.). They made five.

Yet, he could be Machiavellian when he was playing playing rubber bridge he held, AQxx, Kjxx, Akx, Kx. Having blown the last two hands, Walt’s partner opened one no trump. Walt bid three spades. His partner raised him to four spades, but if partner hadn’t done that, Walt planned to bid seven hearts. There was no way Walt was going to let this man declare a grand slam.

Sometimes Walt’s bid resembled one from another dimension as when he bid four clubs over a one no trump overcall of his partner’s opening one spade bid. Walt meant his bid as Gerber.

Walt always used logic, but that logic, but that logic might be understandable only to him. My friend, Mike Garner, made a tidy sum by giving people three to one odds and ten tries to guess what Walt’s call was with Qxx, 10xx,___, AKJ10xxx when the bidding had gone one heart double two hearts to Walt.

Most people didn’t come close to guessing correctly. Finally, Mike gave it to Bob Goldman who knew Walt. Bob listed all the possible actions, and crossed off all totally senseless and came up with the right call — 5S! Obviously, Walt would be looking for slam, but would be worried about a heart control. Walt knew his partner would have at least four spades but wasn’t sure about his clubs. Walt thought he would resolve all his problems with one master bid. In the actual hand Walt’s partner understood the call and bid six spades. Six clubs which made would have been worth 25 matchpoints out of 25. Four spades making five would have garnered 24 1/2.  Six spades down one for -50 gave them them a zero.

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