Main     Almost Bridge 7E06 by Richard Pavlicek    

Hooves and Antlers Gouge Tourney

Today’s deal occurred at the annual North Pole Regional, an unusual tournament in that local reindeer are invited to attend. This has caused complaints from the Eskimos who cite “hoofings” and “antler gougings” as reasons for barring the reindeer; but the truth is that no Eskimo has won since the reindeer were admitted in 1976.

At one table Mush, the top Eskimo player, opened the South hand with four notrump, Blackwood. (Eskimo bidding left a lot to be desired.) His partner, Slush, showed no aces (what a surprise) and Mush continued with five notrump to ask for kings. When Slush showed one king, Mush still had no idea what to bid and he took a stab at six notrump.

6 NT by South

E-W Vul
S K Q 10 5 4 3 2
H 3 2
D 5 4
C 10 9
S J 9 8 7
H 9 8 7
D 8 7 6
C 7 6 5
TableS 6
H J 6 5 4
D J 9 3 2
C J 4 3 2
Lead: S 7S A
H A K Q 10
D A K Q 10
C A K Q 8

West


Pass
Pass
All Pass
North
Slush

5 C
6 D
East


Pass
Pass
South
Mush
4 NT
5 NT
6 NT

West led a spade and Mush was… well, in the slush. He had 10 top tricks in his hand and two in dummy, but there was no way to reach the dummy. He played skillfully (endplaying East) to escape for down one. After the session he asked some of the reindeer what they had done on this annoying deal.

“Oh, we bid seven spades,” said Randolph, “and I made it on a trump coup. After ruffing three times in the North hand, I ended with South on lead and West’s spade jack was trapped in the end position. Not much to it really.”

“We bid seven hearts,” exclaimed Raymond. “West led a spade and I had to hope for miracles. I ruffed the third round of diamonds in dummy then, fearing a bad spade break, I led the club ten for a finesse. When this held I took the heart finesse and all of a sudden my hand was good. Making seven!”

“How about that!” echoed Ralph. “We bid seven diamonds and I made it the same way.”

“Guess what?” chimed Rudolph. “We bid seven clubs… some kind of Gerber malfunction as I recall. I won the spade lead, cashed all my red-nosed… er, red-suit winners, and ruffed a heart. The spade king was ruffed and overruffed, then a diamond ruff gave me 13 tricks. Rather easy.”

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© 1987 Richard Pavlicek