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North Pole Hotel Demolished

I just got back from the North Pole Regional, which ended early this year when a reindeer stampede demolished the host hotel. It all happened as a result of today’s deal.

The top Eskimo pair, Mush and Slush, were playing against a weak reindeer pair, Ralph and Ronald. Mush, North, opened one notrump and Slush, South, responded two clubs Stayman… or so he thought. The language barrier has always been a problem at this tournament, and the rules committee decreed that all bids must be made in the language of one’s opponents. Unfortunately, Slush did not speak fluent reindeer and his bid was misinterpreted.

When Mush passed the “Stayman bid,” Slush knew something was awry and asked for a review of the bidding. Ralph cheerfully stated that it went, “One notrump, pass, seven clubs, all pass.”

7 C by South

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

West
Ralph

All Pass
North
Mush
1 NT
East
Ronald
Pass
South
Slush
7 C

“Director!” shouted Slush. Moments later the tournament director arrived and Slush explained the problem. The director thumbed through his rulebook as Slush annoyingly persisted, “I want a ruling!”

“The bid stands!” announced the director. “Play it!” (A later examination of the rulebook showed no such rule, but director Rudolph Blitzen said his decision was impartial and unprejudiced.)

Ralph led the heart nine, and Slush reluctantly agreed to play out the hand. He won the heart 10 as East played low, and led the diamond 10; jack, queen. A heart was led to the queen, then came the spade 10; jack, queen. Another heart to the ace was followed by the diamond nine and spade nine, both of which won.

Slushed with success, South led the club deuce to dummy’s nine. It won! He cashed the diamond ace, spade ace, and then ruffed dummy’s last spade with his club king as each reindeer helplessly ruffed low. Dummy won the last two tricks with the ace-jack of clubs over West’s queen. Seven clubs, bid and made! On a three-two trump fit!

Word spread quickly. The floor trembled, then splintered, as the hoofed creatures began to run amok. The hotel was trampled to rubble. Luckily, I escaped with only a few bruises from hoofprints.

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© 1988 Richard Pavlicek