Yeh Bros. Best Bid Deal of the Year Winner: Michael Rosenberg and Zia Mahmood (USA)

Article: Changing Horses in Mid-Stream

Journalist: John Carruthers (Canada)

Event: 2015 World Senior Teams Championship, Chennai

Source: IBPA Bulletin 608, January 2016, p. 6

CHANGING HORSES IN MID-STREAM John Carruthers, Kingsville, ON

John Carruthers
John Carruthers

One of the most difficult tasks to accomplish in bidding is to agree one suit, especially a major, then bid a slam in another suit. Michael Rosenberg and Zia Mahmood, playing in the USA1 team, did just that in their round-robin match against England, and it wasn’t just a small slam, but a grand:

Board 21. Dealer North. NS Vul.

aaxx aaxx

1. Drury with a spade fit

2. (i) Slam try, usually with a second suit, or (ii) Choice of games with 4M or 3NT, to be clarified with a 3NT bid next time.

3. I have a good diamond suit (two of the top three honours)

4. In order to set up double key card

5. Six Key Card Blackwood

6. One or four key cards

7. Queen ask

8. Both the queen of spades and the queen of diamonds 9. Please pick a grand slam (in case East has only KQ109)

Mahmood took a bit of a chance: a spade grand slam would likely have been on the heart finesse if Rosenberg had only four diamonds, unlikely as that was (Rosenberg had denied a heart control by bidding four spades over four diamonds). Colin Simpson led a heart. Rosenberg won with the ace, led a diamond to the king, ruffed a club, cashed the ace of diamonds, came to the queen of spades, drew the last trump and claimed, plus 1440. A brilliant effort.

At the other table…aaxx1. Pre-emptive

Bob Hamman and Mark Lair really got in John Holland’s face, forcing him to start at the three level. Having received only a three-diamond bid from Gunnar Hallberg in response to his takeout double and having holes everywhere, despite his jump to four spades, Holland subsided at the five level, taking the obvious 12 tricks to lose 14 IMPs.