Bidding strange hands is not easy, but understanding strange bidding is most difficult. Twhis East-West pair was using a weird bidding system, which is tried by few in the United States. The system is called “The Strong Pass.” Part of this system requires an opening bid on all hands that are below opening-bid strength, in normal methods. This accounts for East’s rather strange initial reaction.
South made a takeout double, and North’s double of one heart was for penalties, just in case his partner had hearts. South jumped in diamonds to show a strong suit. After North bid his clubs, South tried the Blackwood convention and confusion set in.
What prompted South to bid five notrump, even if his partner showed a king, is also strange. For most bridge players who use Blackwood, a bid of five notrump does more than ask for kings; it implies that the asker’s side has all the aces.
Certainly North interpreted the bid that way. He felt he had more than was promised by the bidding, and he bid the grand slam. Too bad he chose to bid it in notrump. After checking to make sure he was on lead, West led his ace of hearts.
With a pass by East, North-South can reach a six-diamond contract. When the queen of trump drops, 13 tricks are easy.
Donna Swan is a resident of Longboat Key, an ardent bridge player and an American Contract Bridge League certified director who plays “for the fun of it.”
WHERE TO PLAY
Bayfront Park Recreation Center
Duplicate bridge games are at 1 p.m. Tuesdays and Thursdays. Contact Larry Auerbach at 758-2017 to reserve your spot.