Martin Monsegur - Guillermo Mooney

January 26, 1986

More than three decades ago the great Pietro Forquet of Italy, with various partners, reintroduced with success the strong club method which had been recommended in 1929 by Harold Vanderbilt, the founder of the modern game.

The Italian success with a system that became known eventually as the Blue Club attracted a host of imitators, beginning in the 1960’s with Schenken and Precision. The advantage of showing a strong hand immediately, and giving other opening bids a much narrower range, appealed to many bidding theorists.

Alan Truscott
Alan Truscott

In the recent World Team Championships in Sao Paulo, Brazil, pairs in the open series using a strong club style outnumbered the standard pairs 14-12. There was one pair using a strong diamond system.

In the women’s division traditional methods were preferred by a margin of almost 2-1; but there was an Australian pair using the hyper-modern Regres system featuring a strong pass and weak openings.

The Blue Club pioneered the control-showing response, allowing the opener to judge immediately whether or not the partnership was missing too many aces and kings for slam purposes. In the diagramed deal the two-diamond response showed five controls, and South knew immediately that he was facing one of two holdings: both minor aces and one king; or one of the aces and the three missing kings.

IMPs: Dealer West; All Vulnerables

   10 5 2
 J 10 6 5  
 Q 10 8 7 
 10 2
 A K Q J 7
 A 9
 J 9
 Q J 7 6
 Q 8 7 3 2
 A 6 4 2
 A K 4
   9 6 4 3  
 K 4 
 K 5 3  
 9 8 5 3

The Bidding:









 1 Pass 2








 4 Pass


 4 Pass


 6 Fin    

Contract: 6

Lead: 8

In the diagramed deal the 2 response showed five controls, and South knew immediately that he was facing one of two holdings: both minor aces and one king; or one of the aces and the three missing kings.


Monsegur - Mooney
Monsegur – Mooney

The occasion was the 14th and final qualifying round in Sao Paulo. Sitting North and South were Guillermo Mooney and Martin Monsegur of Argentina, playing against Israel. Their team was making a last-ditch effort to move from third to second and so replace their opponents as a qualifier for the semi-final play-offs.

The commentators describing the play on Vugraph were expecting a three no-trump contract. Six no-trump, they pointed out, would have some chance in the absence of a diamond lead. The declarer would have to guess how to score a 12th trick in the heart suit.

The Argentines explored a variety of possible contracts, and South kept pushing to slam. They found an unexpected landing place that had some chance to survive a diamond lead.

6 was not exactly a desirable contract, but some optimism was understandable at the start of the match. After some thought, West led the diamond eight, which was won in dummy with the A.

The Vugraph analysts pointed out a line of play that would make the slam with the actual lie of the cards: Play the ace-king of clubs, cash four spade winners and throw diamonds. If this play does not run into a ruff, South can ruff a diamond, return to the heart ace and draw trumps. The fifth spade scores, and a heart is surrendered at the finish. This is about one chance in seven.

Martin Monsegur
Martin Monsegur

To the delight of the Argentine spectators Martin Monsegur found the winning line with very little hesitation, starting with the ace-king of clubs and four rounds of spades.

Since the Israeli North-South reached the normal contract of three no-trump the Argentines gained 12 international match points. This was part of a remarkable rally that brought them 49 points in four deals, which must be some kind of record. But it did them no good; for although they won the match, they did not have a big enough margin to overtake Israel in the standings.


By ferlema