Main   Almost Bridge 7F01 by Richard Pavlicek  

Rudolph Opens 1 NT with a Void

I just received a letter from the 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 and his hand was balanced” — a feeble excuse, as reindeer vision is widely known to be impeccable. At least I’ve never seen a reindeer wearing glasses. Rudolph, however, claims his vision is impaired, and he wears contact lenses to avoid being teased by his friends (the “red-nosed” bit was enough to bear). On this deal that caused the controversy, Rudolph says he “lost a contact”; but if you ask me, I think he just lost contact with reality.

7 NT× South

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



6 S
7 D
7 NT

1 NT
6 NT
All Pass

Rudolph, South, opened the bidding 1 NT; and Randolph decided that 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 realized 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, although this time he was less confident. Rudolph was delighted with diamonds and passed. Randolph gave this some thought (he’ll try anything once) and decided that West might be void in spades and ruff the opening lead; so he corrected to 7 NT. “Double!” shouted 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 that only fueled 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 7 NT doubled!” shouted Rudolph. “Vulnerable, that’s about 2490 as I figure.”

“I’m going to break every antler on your head!” screamed 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 Artic events. It was further agreed 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 intend to picket future tournaments with signs depicting a fallen deer, saying “Remember Bambi!” It just might work. TopMain

© 1991 Richard Pavlicek