Monday, September 7, 2009

Slam Bidding at the World Championships

Folks may wonder how important slam bidding is at the highest level of the game. In Round 4 of the Quarterfinals, three slam hands yielded 116 IMP's worth of swings between the eight teams. That's an average swing of 38.67 IMP's per board, and 9.67 IMP's per board per table. One additional slam hand resulted in everyone in the same small slam. So, four slams, wild swings on three of them.

Now, these three boards basically washed out in the Italy-Russia match, in the Bulgaria-Germany match, and in the Netherlands-USA2 match, as each match featured the same result on one slam hand, one winning another slam hand, and the other winning the third slam hand. Only the China-Norway match resulted in a net swing.

However, each actual swing deal is interesting in its own right.

The first was Board 26. Dealer held KQJxx-v-KQxxx-Kxx, Responder held A9xx-x-J9xxx-AJx. Because of a diamond ruff, four 6S contracts went set a trick, and one 5S contract went set, as well. Two signed off at 4S. One bid and made 5S. No one tried 6D, which is cold, or which induces a 6H sacrifice for only +800. Of course, +800 beats -100 or -200.

The second was Board 28. Opener held A10x-A-AK109xx-AJ2 and caught a nice Responder with Qxxx-KQ10-Qxxx-xx. Not a great contract, but just right when the spade KJ are together. Five found 6D, all making. Two settled for 3NT. One defended 4H for a measly +500.

The third was Board 30. Opener holding A9xx-AQx-AQ9xxx-v and Responder J10-Kxxx-Kx-AKQJx, 7NT seems reasonable, with 15 tricks in practice available. The extremely conservative might settle for 7D or even 6D. Strangely, however, although five teams bid 7NT and netted 1520, only one tried a small slam, the mysterious 6C bid by China (which happens to work when clubs split 4-4). USA2 tried the Moysian 4H, a VERY safe contract in practice, but perhaps the only contract that could be in jeopardy. USA2 scored up +480 on fine play. The last contract was 5D by Germany, a contract with at least strain resolved.

All of these three deals are tough deals, admittedly. But, there still seems to be room for improvement at the top levels of the game in the slam bidding department.


Anonymous said...


6 diamonds is cold on the second hand

If they lead a spade you pitch clubs on hearts

if not you simply trump a club and pitch spades

Kenneth Rexford, Esq. said...

True. A better contract than I initially thought.