Almost Bridge 7F01   Main

Rudolph Opens 1 NT with a Void

  by Richard Pavlicek

Yesterday I received a letter from Antler-Clad Bridge Lodge (ACBL) defending the behavior of two of its members, Rudolph and Randolph. The notorious reindeer pair had been accused of unethical conduct; or more specifically, opening 1 NT with a void and bidding a ridiculous grand slam.

The Lodge claims that Rudolph thought “two of his clubs were spades,” a feeble excuse as reindeer vision is nearly impeccable. At least I’ve never seen a reindeer wearing glasses. Rudolph, however, claims he wears contact lenses to avoid being teased by his friends (the “red-nosed” bit is hard enough to bear). On the deal in question, Rudolph says he “lost a contact”; but I think the only contact he lost was with reality.

Board 11
N-S Vul
S 7 6 5 4 3 2
H 2
D A Q 7 6 5 4


6 S
7 D
7 NT

1 NT
6 NT
All Pass
H 4 3
D J 9 8
C 10 8 7 6 5 4 3 2
Table S A K Q J 10 9 8
H K Q J 10 9 8
7 NT× South
Lead: C 6
H A 7 6 5
D K 10 3 2
C A K Q J 9

Rudolph, South, opened the bidding 1 NT; and Randolph decided his 6-6 shape justified bidding a slam. “Always play in the major” he was told, so he gathered up his courage and jumped to 6 S. East thought he might defeat this contract and doubled.

At this point Rudolph became aware that he held no spades, so he corrected to 6 NT. Randolph didn’t care for notrump with his wild two-suiter, so he ran to 7 D. “Double!” said East, but he was less confident this time. Rudolph was happy with diamonds and passed. Randolph gave this some thought (he’ll try anything once) and decided West might be void in spades and ruff the opening lead; so he corrected to 7 NT. “Double!” screamed East, wondering what madness had overcome these creatures.

“Fourth from my longest and strongest” mused West as he tabled the C 6. Rudolph discarded a spade from dummy and scooped in the trick with his nine. Four more rounds of clubs were cashed throwing spades.

Then came the diamonds, and more diamonds as East chucked honors all over the place. East’s discards were piling so high that Rudolph offered to get him a wheelbarrow — a gesture only fueling the animosity. Before the last diamond was led, East held the S A and H K-Q. If he let go the S A, dummy’s S 7 would be good. If he let go a heart, South’s H 7 would be good. East was hopelessly squeezed in the major suits.

“Making seven!” shouted Rudolph. “Doubled and vulnerable, that’s about 2490 as I figure.”

“I’m going to break every antler on your head!” shouted East as he grabbed for an empty chair.

A hush filled the room as everyone looked toward Rudolph’s table. The reindeer scurried as East broke several chairs trying to catch them. “Those [expletive deleted] reindeer!” vented East, “I’m going to shoot every one of them!”


A conduct committee was formed, and its decision was to ban all ACBL creatures from future Arctic events. It was further decreed that other tournament participants would be permitted to carry hunting rifles, in case of a recurrence.

The Lodge members are of course up in antlers over this and plan to appeal. In the meantime, they will picket all future tournaments with signs depicting a fallen deer: “Remember Bambi!” You know? It just might work.

Almost Bridge 7F01   MainTop   Rudolph Opens 1 NT with a Void

© 1991 Richard Pavlicek