I’m a very amateur duplicate bridge player. The other day I played with my pal Robert, who recently published a book which I helped him title, Remember, your last name is Krohn. We were playing in a club game against a pair who were much more experienced than we were, people with hundreds of master points. Earlier Robert had said to me, “Let’s bid a slam, even if we don’t have the points. Keep it interesting.”
The last hand we played is shown in the hand record. Playing South, I was dealt eighteen (of 40 in the deck) high card points and was contemplating bidding 1 NT, a bit of a lie, when my left-hand opponent (LHO) passed and Robert surprised me by opening the bidding with a spade. RHO threw a wrench into things by bidding 2H. I wanted to bid a Jacoby 2NT, one of my favorite bids, partially because the woman Scotty wrote Mortality Play with, Alana Jacoby, is a distant relative of the man who invented the bid. But that had two problems. First, I wasn’t sure Robert would understand as he’s not a great fan of conventions, but more importantly, since RHO had bid hearts I was hesitant to open no-trump since I didn’t have hearts stopped. Indeed the hand record shows they would have taken six heart tricks off the top. I should have doubled but instead I took the bull by the horns and bid 4NT, taking control by asking Robert how many aces he held. We play a key card Blackwood, but that didn’t come into play because, after a LHO pass, Robert jumped right to 6S. Because our system doesn’t have a way to show voids, this was a brilliant bid. He was grinning widely by then.
RHO, someone with over six hundred master points—she later explained that she thought, correctly, that we’d make 6S—interfered by bidding 7D! I doubled, LHO corrected to 7H, and Robert pondered. After at what seemed to be a full minute (forever at a bridge table) he laid down the 7S bidding card.
RHO led the ace of hearts, which Robert trumped and laid down his hand, saying he’d “draw trumps and lead to the aces and kings on the board.” This is not how Robert usually talks, but that’s an actual quote. Without having to even take one finesse, he had bid and made a grand slam.
Causes Kevin Arnold Supports
Poetry Center San Jose, East Palo Alto Police Activities League (EPA PAL), Squaw Valley Community of Writers, Yale Writing Conference, Gold Rush Writers