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Slams in the Golden West


from Fiske Warren

I am often asked how frequently slam hands are dealt. I don't know the answer but I am fairly sure that more than the usual number were dealt at this year's Golden West. Out of the 108 hands played, 12 included excellent slam contracts with a further 5 needing some good luck to make.

Playing with Kaiping Chen, we had our first chance in Round 2:

♠ —


♣ —
♠ 6 4 3
K 8 4
K Q 6 5
♣ 10 9 2
N
WE
S
♠ 2
A J 10 9
A J
♣ A K Q 8 5 4
♠ —


♣ —

As East, I opened 1C and Kaiping responded 1NT (although some might prefer to show diamonds). At this point, I bid 3S, intending it to show an excellent hand with 6 clubs and a singleton spade, allowing partner to value his red suit honours and set us on the road to 6C. Alas my 3S bid was clear as mud to partner who bid 3NT and I passed. An ignominious one down when the opponents unkindly led a spade. We have now updated our system notes.

Our next foray was not until Round 5, where 4 good slams were on offer in 12 boards.

♠ —


♣ —
♠ 10 8 7
A Q 6
A K
♣ A K Q 4 2
N
WE
S
♠ A K J
K J 10 4 2
Q J 6
♣ 10 3
♠ —


♣ —

With the West hand, Kaiping showed a balanced 22-23 and I was able to count up to 37 and bid 7NT.

Those who opened 2NT showing 20-22 had a harder task and over half the field settled for a small slam. It is worth discussing with partner whether 2NT-3D-3H4NT is natural quantitative or Keycard.

The very next hand:

♠ —


♣ —
♠ A K J 8 7 3
5
K 9 8 6
♣ A 8
N
WE
S
♠ 9
K
A Q 10 2
♣ K Q J 10 6 3 2
♠ —


♣ —

Kaiping opened 1S and I responded 2C, game forcing. South bid 4H and Kaiping bid 4S. At this point I had an attack of pessimism and passed. Partner might have held solid spades and no other Ace but on reflection I think it is better for me to bid 4NT and drive to 6C.

Bridget Cooke showed us how to do it a few hands later.

♠ 3 2
A K Q 10 8 7 5

♣ Q J 9 5
♠ —


♣ —
N
WE
S
♠ —


♣ —
♠ —
J 9 3
A Q J 8 7 3
♣ A 8 4 2

Kaiping opened 1S and her partner overcalled 4H. Bridget had no hesitation in leaping to 6H.

In round 7 we met this hand:

♠ —


♣ —
♠ A 10 9 6 5
4 3 2
K 4
♣ K 10 7
N
WE
S
♠ K J 2
A K J 7

♣ A Q J 8 3 2
♠ —


♣ —

Kaiping passed, North opened 3D, I doubled and South bid 5D. Kaiping now came to life with 5S and although I should possibly have made a grand slam try with 6D, I chose the simple raise to 6S, making an overtrick when South had SQ.

A little later:

♠ —


♣ —
♠ A K 9 5
10
Q 10 5
♣ A 10 9 4 2
N
WE
S
♠ Q J 7 4
K Q J 5

♣ K J 7 5 3
♠ —


♣ —

Kaiping (West) opened 1C, I responded 1D (a transfer showing hearts) and Kaiping bid 1S. I now made a slam try with 4D (splinter agreeing spades) and Kaiping showed some interest by bidding 4H.

I now bid diamonds a third time - 5D was Exclusion Key Card and when Kaiping showed 3 Key cards, I bid 6S which made 12 tricks.

Into the penultimate round where we were opposed by Chris Mulley and Tim Munro who had taken up residence at table 1. On the very first board:

♠ —


♣ —
♠ 10 4
K Q J 7
K Q J 8 2
♣ 5
N
WE
S
♠ K Q J 8 3 2
A 5 4 3

♣ A Q 7
♠ —


♣ —

As East, I opened 1S and Kaiping responded 2D, game forcing. I rebid 2H and Kaiping jumped to 4H, fast arrival showing an absolute minimum for his game force. My hand was good but it had the problem of weak hearts. Unable to know exactly how good partner's hearts were and worried that the 5 level was not necessarily safe, I decided to Pass and that was another slam missed. I had stupidly forgotten the weekend's overriding rule: possible slams will make if you bid them. Luckily for us, nearly every other pair also forgot the rule when bidding this hand.

Despite this lost opportunity, we managed to win the match and going into the final round, less than 7 VPs covered the leading 7 pairs who were still in contention to win. With our less than convincing slam bidding record, I had just one wish for the final round. The bridge gods were listening and, for a change, there was no hand even remotely in the slam zone. We were fortunate to win our final match by just enough and finish first overall. A big thank you to Mandurah Bridge Club and all the many people who contribute to make this such an excellent event every year.

Fiske Warren Courses 2018

Nedlands - Beginners course: 8 Tuesday mornings 10.00 am to 12.00 noon starting 30th January

South Perth - Beginners courses: 8 Monday mornings 9.45 am to 11.45 am starting 29th January
And 8 Wednesday evenings, 7.30 pm to 9.30 pm starting 31st January

South Perth - Basic Refresher course; 4 Wednesday mornings, 9.45 am to 11.45 am starting 31st January

Fiske can be contacted on 0435 152003 or by email fiskebridge@bigpond.com



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