Hand of the Month - May 2007

This month we have two little gems for you, both occurring in the same club game and held by the same player. Lucky guy!

Our first hand is more amusing than anything else. It's one of the worst hands ever seen:

♠ 8 7 5 4 3 2
♥ 5 3
♦ 7 3
♣ 6 4 2

Awesome. Sort of looks like a Dalmation, lots of black spots and not much else.
Let's see, if we count anti-points (where a deuce is 4 points, a trey is 3 points, etc.) then this beast comes to 23 AHCP (anti-High Card Points). Let's see, playing Nullo, you could bid 4 Nullos at your first turn, asking partner for Aces. You'd be playing Carthaginian Key Card Blackwood, of course, where 5♣ shows 2 key cards with the trump queen, 5♦ shows 2 without the trump queen, and so forth. You want to be in a Nullo grand, possibly a small slam, if partner doesn't have too many aces.

Enough about that thing. Let's looks at a somewhat more interesting hand:

♠ x x x
♥ none
♦ A K Q 10 9 x x x
♣ J x

The dealer, at your right, passes. Well? Many would open 3, 4, or 5♦, but you decide you have better things in mind, and open 1♦. After all, if partner starts getting excited, you can just keep rebidding your suit until the cows come home. The auction develops:
West North East South

1♦ 1♥ 2♣ 2♥
3♥ Pass 3NT All Pass

Of course, 3NT is what you were hoping for all along, although you didn't quite foresee this route to getting there.

As expected, RHO leads a heart. Pard wins the ♥A and runs the next 8 tricks in diamonds - fortunately he had one! - and concedes the rest. He held, in addition the the ♥A and something in clubs, the ♠K so all was going to be well.

The hand only makes 9 tricks in diamonds because the spade ace is over the king, and everyone else in the room was in diamonds, so you took all the matchpoints. There's hope you might learn to play this maddening game after all.

In case you were wondering, Carthage was an ancient foe of the Romans. Anti-Roman. Carthaginian Key Card Blackwood. Get it? It's not funny if I have to explain it.

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