Barnet Shenkin

A symphony of bidding by Barnet Shenkin prev/next

Recently I had the privilige of playing in a team containing Versace and Lauria who along with Jaggy and myself were playing a challenge match against the Israeli Bermuda Bowl team at acbl online.

The wind blew in our favour but at the same time we were aided by results like the following hand which shows how these bridge stars are just as in tune with each other as Pavarotti their countryman is with his orchestra.

Dlr: South
Vul: E-W
N ♠A 10 2
♥Q 2
♦A K Q 9 2
♣K J 10
W ♠Q 3
♥K J 9 7
♦6 5 4 3
♣8 7 4
 E ♠6 5
♥A 10 8 6 5 3
♦J 10 8 7
 S ♠K J 9 8 7 4
♣A Q 9 6 5 2
BarnetHerbst IJaggyHerbstO
Pass 2♦Pass 2♠
Pass 3♠Pass 4♣
Pass 4♦Pass4NT
Pass 5♥*XPass
Pass 5♠All Pass 

2 no trump queen.

The Israeli pair had an auction that most pairs would have up to the five level. When South found out that the heart ace and trump queen was missing he decided not to gamble on the spade slam which on a heart lead is only a tiny favorite to make.

Now see how the Italians were able to conduct their bidding masterpiece:

Pass 2♦Pass 2♠
Pass2NTPass 3♣
Pass 3♠Pass 4♣
Pass 4♦Pass 4♥
Pass4NTPass 5♥
Pass 5♠Pass 6♣
All Pass   

Alfredo Versace bids a waiting 2nt which allows Lauria to bid clubs twice naturally. Now When Versace finds out they are missing a key card and the trump queen he too signs off in 5 spades but Lauria proceeds with 6♣ which becomes the final contract. From Lauria's angle the fact that his partner did not raise spades immediately brings the club suit into play. Should his partner have only two spades the spade suit may be ruffed out in clubs and with the actual case when he partner has 3 spades and three clubs to the king there is the possibility that all of Souths losing spades can be discarded on North's winners. In clubs a 4-4 diamond split brings in 12 tricks regardless of the spade division. Had the diamonds not divided South would also have the advantage of not guessing the spade until the end of the hand rather than at the beginning.

The contract of 6 clubs is not easy to reach and even though on this occasion the spades divided the Italian duet picked up a 10 imp swing.