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A Cold Bottom on a Distributional Slam


We played in the Seaside, Ore., regional bridge tournament during the first week of October, enjoying the rumble of the surf, occasional heavy rain and the competition in a very large bridge event. The tournament attracts many players from up and down the West coast and other parts of the country.

This interesting hand unfolded in one of the matchpoint events, and we had the misfortune to watch the auction proceed from our north-south position. The opening bidder's partner asked for key cards with four notrump and could not believe that he could open the bidding and have only one of them. So he bid the spade slam. When I saw the dummy come down, I thought we should be able to defeat the contract because there were only nine high-card points there, but the declarer proceeded to make six by ruffing out the ace of clubs, trumping all his hearts in the dummy and, in the end, losing only to the ace of diamonds. Even that was onside for him.

We rarely see a slam make in which the declaring side is missing three aces and the king of trumps, but this is one of those hands. The declarer was Don Merry of Duncan, British Columbia, partnered with his wife Nancy. To illustrate how well they bid and played the hand, 37 other pairs played the hand and not a single one of them bid and made the slam. That means that they got a top board, and we, of course, got a cold bottom.

Boise players are getting ready for the Sectional Tournament to be played at the Boise Bridge Club, 3085 N. Cole Rd. (at Ustick), October 26-28. There will be events for all levels of experience, so if you would like to participate call 208-327-0166.