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The Most Unusual Notrump

  by Astri Delafield

June, 1981 — Palm Beach Illustrated Magazine

We’ve all seen bridge situations where an “old pro” pulls off a con job. Now watch a young upstart at work.

Master Richard Pavlicek Jr. (age 11) is a chip off the old block. His father, Richard Sr., is a fabulous player.

Against none other than Palm Beach’s Jack Schwencke, young Rich held the West hand in a Swiss team game at the posh Fort Lauderdale Bridge Club. Across the table was his mother, Mabel, a fiery Argentinian girl, with the unenviable task of deciphering the youngster’s bids.

5 C EastS J 8 7 5 3
H J 10 9
D 10 5 4
C 10 7
Both VulWest

2 NT?
5 C


3 C
1 D
S 2
D K Q J 9
C A K J 9 6 5 4
Table S A 9 4
H 6 5 4 3 2
D 3 2
C Q 3 2

S K Q 10 6
H A K 8 7
D A 8 7 6
C 8

Schwencke, South, had a delightful hand with both majors, and he opened one diamond. Like lightning, Rich jumped to two notrump! Mabel, hearing this, was in a quandary. She had taught him that two notrump over a major showed the minors, but this was undiscussed. Did his father teach him that it shows hearts and clubs? Or does he still have the minors? (Not that his actual hand is appropriate for either case.)

After North passed, Mabel decided to play it safe by bidding clubs — a suit Rich should have by either interpretation. Schwencke doubled this for takeout, and the youngster shot for the moon with five clubs. He certainly had good trump support!

The perfect contract! Only the two red aces had to be lost, as a bewildered Jack Schwencke looked on in amazement. Now that’s an unusual notrump.

I just love watching men at play. Don’t you?

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© 1981 Astri Delafield