A Contrast of Styles by James Jacoby


The Southeast Missourian – 16 May 1988

Both Bruce the Basher and Sam the Scientist held the North cards. See how differently their minds work. Bruce is a practical player, although impatient. When he has a notion of what the final contract should be, he bids it. He scorns delicate informatory auctions since they often help opponents defeat a contract. So, with no ado, Bruce simply bid six hearts.

Sam the Scientist is cut from a different bolt of cloth. He shudders at the thought of bidding a slam off the first two tricks. Equally distasteful to him would be playing six hearts when the grand slam was there. Fortunately Sam has some bidding gadgets to help him. He plays splinter bids — note his jump to three spades to show a strong heart raise with shortness in spades. With a minimum, South simply bid game.

Scientist Sam’s four no-trump bid was another gadget key-card exclusion Blackwood. In this auction, because a spade void has been implied, South is expected to ignore the spade ace in his responses. Furthermore, since the trump suit is hearts, the king of hearts is construed as an ace. So South’s response of five spades showed A-K of hearts and the diamond ace. Sam bid the grand slam. Don’t sneer at Bruce the Basher. He scores up a lot of unmakable slams with his straightforward bidding, while Sam is in only five, just making.