42nd GENERALI European Bridge Championships. Vilamoura, Portugal 1995
Saturday, 24 June 1995
Let me take you back to 1966 when the World Pairs Olympiad was played in Amsterdam. One of the six pairs chosen to represent Great Britain was Victor Goldberg and myself. After one weeks play we were in our usual position under average and not on speaking terms. In fact our only method of communication was through our good friend John McLaren (Scottish international) who was attending as a spectator. John carried messages and replies from one to the other watering down our language.
Late on in the tournament playing against the late Herman Filarski (Dutch international and bridge writer) I held this hand: A Q 5 4 2 7 A 9 A 10 8 3 2. I opened 1 and over partners 1 response I made a very conservative raise to 3. Goldberg bid 4.
Now realising my previous bid was an underbid I launched into 4NT. Goldberg responded 5. I asked him to repeat his bid as I thought I had misheard him (no bidding boxes in those days). He repeated: FIVE SPADES.
After some thought I concluded that there were three possible explanations:
1- he held no aces and if he responded 5 I might have none and take him for all four. In that case, I would bid seven with no aces a first for us!
2- he was in some way trying to alert me that he held a void somewhere by not giving the normal response.
3- the heat had gotten to him and he had gone completely off his head.
I felt sure it was the last reason.
I bid 6.
A card was led and as I placed my hand on the table a guttural sound came from Goldberg followed by a loud crazy howl. I was now sure his brain had flipped. He threw his hand on the table and we all looked at it. He had been dealt the same hand as me.
Herman remarked: You two must be the only pair in the world who cannot bid a grand slam with six aces!
Goldbergs first comment to Filarski was: Which way should I finesse the K, Herman?