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Jul 24

Grand slams from Philly

Back from 12 days of bridge in Philadelphia… I have to admit I was a bit worn off at the end.  Not many successes, except for placing 3/4 in the GNT Cs (if that counts as a success, but let's not be too picky).  At least I went two for two in grand slams.

The "scientific" one is from the A/X Swiss on the last Sunday (we did not qualify for the second day of the Open Swiss, but I got my first platinum point in it).  On my first deal opposite a pickup partner, I opened a normal 1 holding

95
KQ9842
K
KQ97

… and found myself declaring a grand after a mere three rounds of bidding:

West North East South
      1
P 51 P 52
P 53 P 64
P 7    

1. exclusion
2. 1/4
3. queen ask
4. yes + king

I received a spade lead and saw the following dummy:

North
AQ
AJT
AJT98642
South
95
KQ9842
K
KQ97

so I played a diamond to my king, and a trump back to dummy, ruffed a diamond high and drew two more round of trumps ending in dummy, making the contract and bringing 13 imps in when neither red suit broke 4-0 (I missed the better line of cashing a heart first, allowing myself to fall back on dropping a singleton queen of diamonds should trumps break 4-0).

By the way, a more interesting question is what my partner would have done had I shown up with the K instead…  Arguably, a 6 response to the queen ask should imply, at least, the possibility to sign off in 6NT, and thus a club control.  And it seems even better to use 6 to show the K, as my club holding is probably irrelevant.

The other grand, bid in a regional pairs, was even simpler to bid…  Geoff proposed to "play Fantunes" just before the start of the game (a system neither of us had tried before, hence the quotation marks), and was probably wondering about how to relay out a 23-point monster: AK865A7K5AKQ7… when he heard me open 1 (14+)!  A nice systemic win as he could count 37HCP and directly blast to a 7NT that had 14 top tricks (18 with normal breaks), probably the fastest auction to a grand I'll ever see :)