Barnet Shenkin

Memories from the Vanderbilt by Barnet Shenkin prev/next

How did I do in the Vanderbilt I lost which was not exactly unexpected. I added on a team with a couple of weeks to go and with two days to go found Bob Jones to be my partner along with Pavlicek - Rautenberg Kamil - Fleischer. These were two new partnerships but Michael Kamil and Marty Fleischer were in form coming second in the open pairs by a trick. Bob and I had played a pairs tournament a few years back but since then never played.

We were seeded no17 just outside the top brackets and won our first couple of matches in some comfort. The third match we played Whitman - Baze - Ross AA and Grotheim from Norway.We took a lead of over 40 by the half and AA produced a nice bid.

Dlr: West
Vul: North-South
N ♠A K Q
♥8 5 2
♦7 6 3 2
♣A J 7
W ♠J 10 9 7 6 5
♥J 6
♣K Q 10 6
 E ♠8
♥Q 10 7 4 3
♦J 10 8 4
♣9 5 4
 S ♠4 3 2
♥A K 9
♦A K 9 5
♣8 3 2

Grotheim opened 2♠ and Jones passed now AA made the obvious bid - he bid 3♠. What was I to do? Double with only 3 hearts and a flat distribution or pass? I decided to pass. The contract went down 3 for minus 150 against a vulnerable bid 3nt in the other replay. They overcalled 2NT with the North hand although that certainly is not clear and could go for a number. Anyway we learned a new bridge term “The invisible trump raise” no trumps and hardly any points either!

We held on to win by a reasonable margin and were not unhappy to learn that the holders and number one seeds had been eliminated - Milner playing with Lev and four Poles. Amazingly the score was over 100 and we had to treat our new opponents Foster with respect.

My wife Mags came in to watch a few boards and this is what she saw I held ♠A Q J 10 7
♥A 6
♣A J 8 3 2

I bid 1 Spade and head 4 hearts. Now we had agreed to play that 2♥ was game forcing and 3♥ invitational with hearts and that 4Cand 4♦ were splinter bids. I was 95 percent sure this was a splinter bid. I was not going to bid RKC and a spade slam just in case he had Hearts so I bid 5♣ and heard 5♦ which was good and now bid 5♥ which Bob raised to six. Now I had a terrible headache. Was Bob trying for a grand or had he hearts. I wished I had just raised his 4heart bid to six hearts and been out he auction. Finally, not wanting to go back to my teammates after playing in a 2-0 fit I decided that I would bid 6Spades after all I had a decent suit. Lefty led a diamond and I saw ♠6
♥Q J 10 9 8 7 5
♦A 7 5
♣K 9 4

I nodded wisely won the ♦A and ran the ♥Q which held .Now a trump to the Queen and King. West played another diamond which I ruffed drew the remaining trumps which split 4-3 cashed the ♥A which brought the king and claimed. At this point my loving wife left the table never to return.

We scored up with our teammates - they missed the slam they said. We bid it I replied and that was 13 in.

After this result we were never in danger and won going away.

The next match we were a big underdog against Cayne Helgemo Levin Weinstein Seamon and Smith.

Kamil - Fleischer had a dream start and when Pavlicek Rautenberg had done fine we found ourselves up more than 50 imps. The next quarter we played Levin Weinstein and the last hand of the set was critical when Bob produced a nice duck in a slam to stop me being squeezed. We picked up some more imps and each of the other quarters gained a few imps each time to win by 73.

I had this problem when Bob opened 1 Spade vulnerable ♠void

It went pass and I had an awkward bid. I could invite in hearts but miss a Grandslam in Clubs. I bid a forcing NT and heard 2♣. Now I thought if clubs were genuine we could have a slam. I bid 4♦ and went partner bid 4♠ I saw my losing diamond would go on the ♠A and bid a confident 6♣. The D did go away but unfortunately we lost 3 trump tricks to go down 2. This was a flat board when Levin-Weinstein were down 2 in four hearts in the other table!

The semi-final we played against mark Gordon Wynn Allaegart mark Molson and Boris Baron.

We took a lead and then I had this opening lead problem. ♠10 9
♥A 9 6 3
♦J 10 9 7 5
♣5 3

I heard 1♣- 1♥, 3♣- 6♣.

Any suit except clubs was possible. My choice was between the ♦J and the ♥A to try and give partner a ruff. I led the ♦J and saw

N ♠Q 2
♥J 8 7 5 4 2
♦K Q
♣A K 6
S ♠A 7 4
♥K Q
♦A 4
♣Q J 10 9 4 2

Jaggy took the Ace in hand and thought. I now reckoned that one of the other possible leads was the winner. He played a high trump from hand and crossed to dummy with a second trump. Now a heart to the King. I won the Ace and returned a diamond taking out an entry. Now with hearts not breaking he could only discard one spade on the ♥J and go down one. When he tried a Chinese finesse by leading the ♠Q Bob covered that!

So we gained a 13 imp swing when Kamil Fleischer stopped in game.

Here was another anxious hand from the semi-final.

I held ♠A K J 8 6 5
♥J 10 7
♣Q 6 5

Our match was being shown on bridgebase when I got another headache.

1♠ 2♣
3♣ 3♥

We were playing 2/1 g/f. Could 4nt be natural quantitative or asking in Clubs or asking in Spades- we had discussed 4nt being asking in the last suit bid but did it apply here. I decided no harm could be done by bidding 5♣ showing 1 keycard. I now heard 5♥. Now I was really confused. It was not a queen ask in clubs - perhaps it was a transfer to 5NT - at any rate it is always good to bid 5NT in these situations -let partner make the final mistake. Bob passed quickly and held ♠Q
♥A K 9 4
♦K 10 4 3
♣A K 8 2
. He had twelve easy tricks. He had meant 4NT as a spade ask. Molson and Baron bid to the obvious contract in the replay------ 5NT!! For a push.