Ted's Bridge World Dante's Infernal

Grand Slams Galore from the Sacramento Sectional

The recently concluded two-session Open Pairs featured some interesting deals on which few pairs, if any, achieved the maximum result.  This was Board #20 from the afternoon game:


Our opponents were one of only three east-west pairs to bid the spade slam.  After trumping my opening lead of a high club, declarer let me ruff the ace of hearts.  I returned a low club for partner to ruff, but declarer was able to overruff and take the rest.  A trump lead, followed by a heart and two heart ruffs and another high spade, left this position:


West led her last trump, and my hand was squeezed.  A diamond discard allowed west to pick up three tricks in that suit.  Had declarer taken the precaution of cashing one high spade at trick two, she could actually have won all the tricks.

A bit later in the session, Board #24 arrived:


East opens 1 in third-position.  If south overcalls 1, then west has an easy 2 bid.  Should south instead choose a 2 preempt, then west could reasonably upgrade the two aces and trump honor, and bid 3.  Although either of those raises should encourage east to check for the requisite controls, not a single pair reached any slam, with 6 or 7 cold.  Twenty-four times, the east-west pair either languished in game or doubled a north-south sacrifice.  This was a poor showing, even at Dante's Infernal.

Perhaps even more incredible was Board #8 from the evening session:


With a balanced 20-count, west has a normal 2NT opening bid.  At this juncture, east should simply empty his entire bidding box upon the table.  With a combined 37-38 high-card points, there is no justification for a failure to contract for all the tricks.  Yet only 15 of 26 pairs bid the grand slam in notrump.  One pair played in six of a minor, and one did reach 7; but the rest played in 6NT.  Go figure.

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