Ely Culbertson
Ely Culbertson

 4th World Youth Open Championships Official Site

Opatija, Croacia • 20 – 29 August 2015


Daily Bulletin FRIDAY AUGUST 28, 2015

Culbertson, played a major role in the popularization of bridge and was widely regarded as «the man who made contract bridge». In 1933 he wrote:

An exact estimate of the resources is vital to the proper planning of any kind of campaign, whether financial, military, or merely the bidding of a hand at contract. Without such an estimate it is impossible to apply the nice admixture of courage and caution that are the ingredients of success. The average bridge player’s vacilation between recklessness and over-conservatism can be traced to one major fault: failure to take into consideration all the possibilities of a given situation.

These deals from the second set of the quarterfinals of the Junior Teams Championship recalled Culbertson’s thoughts.

On Boards 27 and 28, only Delle Cave-Da Rosa (second in the Junior Pairs Championship two days earlier) considered all their possibilities and played in two cold three-notrump contracts, although they were not easy to find. They were in the Zlatan-Finland match.

Board 27 aa

At one of the tables, after two passes, North opened one notrump, East overcalled two diamonds, South competed with two spades, and all passed. Declarer fulfilled his contract.

At the other table the bidding was:

West North East South
Aimala Delle Cave Fagerlund Da Rosa
Pass 2NT2 3  Pass
Pass Double Pass 33
Pass 3NT All Pass

(1) A weak spade-minor two-suiter

(2) Strength-showing enquiry

(3) 5=3=0=5, not liking his partner’s penalty double

Declarer received the king-of-diamonds lead. He pitched a spade from dummy and held up his ace. East was in trouble. He knew that his partner had close to zero points, so he didn’t have an easy return. Finally, after a long pause, he chose the queen of diamonds. Declarer discarded another spade from dummy, won with his ace, and played a club to dummy’s king. Next came a heart to the king and another club, this time to the jack and queen. Delle Cave left dummy with a low heart, West played his ten, and North the ace. When the queen appeared, declarer saw that all of his problems had vanished. He led a club and claimed ten tricks when East produced the ace.


Board 28 aa

At one of the tables, West opened one club, playing a weak notrump; North overcalled two clubs, showing the majors (5-4 or better); and eventually North-South stopped in two hearts. Declarer scored plus 140.

At the other table the bidding was:

West North East South
Aimala Delle Cave Fagerlund Da Rosa
 1NT 21  Pass 22
Double Redouble Pass  23
 Pass  34  Pass  3NT
All Pass

(1) Majors, 5-4 or longer

(2) Asking for the longer major

(3) Signoff

(4) 5=5=0=3, extra values

Although the contract was cold with any lead, at the table declarer received the most favorable start, a low diamond. Da Rosa pitched a spade from dummy, won in his hand with the seven, and continued with a low club. West won with the queen and returned a heart. Declarer won with the jack and played a second club. Aimala put up the king and returned his last club. Da Rosa won with his ace, cashed the ten of clubs, pitching a second spade from dummy, and led the queen of spades. West took the trick with his ace, cashed the ace of diamonds, and conceded the rest.

Many thanks to Rodrigo and Giuseppe for the bidding explanations!