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# Game Crazy

by Richard Pavlicek

You are about to witness two deals that may blow your mind, or at least send the topic of “game bidding” into the Twilight Zone. The first is a one-of-a-kind, the only possible layout for its bizarre characteristic, except for suit identity.

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

So what is its claim to fame? Note the symmetry and think about the play in notrump before reading further.

Incredibly, everyone makes 3 NT against any defense. Each long suit is blocked, and whoever leads must unblock a suit for declarer else lead from K-J. Suppose West leads a low spade; North pitches a club, then a club is ducked to establish the suit. West’s spades, while established, are hopelessly blocked.

There are many deals where every player can make one notrump, but is believed to be impossible (though unproved) for the case of two notrump. This adds even more incredulity that this case for 3 NT exists.

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## How many points do you need for game?

Most authorities, including this crazed writer, recommend 26 total points to justify bidding game in a major suit. Of course this does not necessarily mean high-card points. Experienced players are well aware that distribution can greatly reduce that number. So what is the fewest HCP required for game?

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

Would you believe zero? Suppose you are declarer in 4 . Don’t ask how you got there, as I may have to commit you to the looney bin — let alone the mindless opponents cold for 7 NT; in fact they couldn’t lose a trick if they tried.

Suppose West leads a club. Discard dummy’s heart, ruff in hand, ruff a heart and lead a trump. No matter how they defend, you can establish hearts with another ruff and crash their trumps to lose only two tricks. An overtrick, no less!

Yes, they can stop the overtrick easily enough, but there’s no defense to beat 4 . Does this give you a charge? Do you feel like overbidding? Well, do ya, punk?

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© 2003 Richard Pavlicek