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                                 High Level Action at Rubber

Week 2 of the three week Rubber Swiss tournament saw Malcolm Mayer and Michael Curry create an almost uncatchable lead in this event .Not only have they four wins from their four matches but as each win has been by over 2,000 points, they have accumulated 8 bonus points to go along with 12 for the wins,20 in all. The next highest total is 14 points.

Going all the way

In most of the matches to date, the cards have favoured those sitting in one direction. One board offered the opportunity of grand slam. How would you have handled these cards?

       Dealer West.

            West                                      East

            Spade-small K6                                       Spade-small AQ53

            Heart-smallAK7                                     Heart-small 6

            Diamond-small K952                                  Diamond-smallAQ84

           Club-small KQJT                                   Club-small A432

Not a bad collection at any form of the game. Shame this was only competition not Rubber for money! The best contract is 7Club-small which can survive a 4-1 diamond break even if trumps broke 4-1 too (just ruff a heart). Meanwhile a bad diamond break would defeat both the diamond and no-trump grand slams.

            West                                      East

            1Club-small                                          1Diamond-small

            2NT                                        3Club-small

            3NT                                        ?

East-West ought to find their minor fit in whichever minor West opens, though a 1Club-small opener and 1Diamond-small response could mean the diamond rather than the club fit is found. It is not that easy, though, as West is too strong for 3Diamond-small and may opt for 2NT (18-19) balanced. East’s 3Club-small checks on West’s majors..and after 3NT? 4Club-small from East needs to be natural (otherwise in these days of short club openings, one will never find a club fit, without inverted minor responses).

The sequence really needs to develop with East doing the asking for key cards as they can find out about the trump queen (if clubs are the agreed trump suit) and they hold the vital Diamond-smallQ and Spade-smallQ themselves. It is not so easy, short of a punt, with most tables stopping in 6NT. Both minor suits broke 3-2.

However, that West hand is such a good 19 count that it could be upgraded to 20…and that just might give East the impetus to be even more ambitious.

High Level Diving

One does not want to give too big a score away in Rubber when sacrificing. The following deal was exciting at all tables. What would you bid as South after the following auction with East-West only vulnerable:

West              North                        East                South

Pass               Pass                          1Club-small                  2NT (Michael's style, the red suits)

4Spade-small                  5Heart-small                           5Spade-small                  ?

South holds:    Spade-small 9

                        Heart-small KQ642

                        Diamond-small KQJT3


It’s Rubber if they make it. You seem unlikely to make 12 tricks in hearts but partner did bid voluntarily. If you bid 6Heart-small as a sacrifice it should not be expensive but is it a phantom sacrifice? So? Your action is?

In fact, it was a phantom sacrifice but not an expensive one.

West Deals
E-W Vul
A 5
10 9 5 3
A 8 5 2
J 4 3
Q J 8 7 6 4 3 2
10 9 8
W   E
K 10
A J 8
9 7 4
K Q 6 5 2
K Q 6 4 2
K Q J 10 3
A 7


East did well to bid 5Spade-small as 5Heart-small can be made if the declarer plays trumps correctly. (Had West 2 hearts and no diamonds, then there would be a different correct way to make this contract.) Meanwhile, 5Spade-small would be one or two down depending on the play in the club suit.

The normal action of South passing 5Spade-small would have worked. Indeed, North may have administered a double.

For the second week running, the players dealt themselves some interesting cards. Maybe clubs should do away with computer dealt cards?!

Richard Solomon


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