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A Deal for All Your Sides
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I saw Hamilton in June, and let's just say it was as good as everyone says. I've been listening to the soundtrack Non-Stop since then, including this week in Wujiang, China at the world junior championships. I also enjoy seeing the cast in other things, notably Leslie Odom Jr.'s Nationwide insurance commercials. (Give me a break; he has a great voice.)

Those commercials are what came to mind when I was thinking about this deal from match 4 yesterday:

West
10
AKQ108543
AJ102
North
87654
J9762
Q84
East
K9
AKJ3
KQ98763
South
AQJ32
1097652
54
D
4

At our table, the Chinese West opened 1, Zach Grossack passed, and East bid 2, game-forcing with as few as zero clubs. I bid 2, Michaels, West raised to 3, and Zach threw a little sand in the opponents' eyes with an ostensibly-natural 3NT. East stared at this for a while and jumped to 6, and West understandably bumped to seven. I led the A and that was that: +100.

We were hoping for a pickup, but on these kinds of deals anything can happen. In fact, our teammates also reached 7, down one for a push, but along the way one of them made "the best bid of the tournament," according to his partner. (A somewhat bold claim to make on day one, but hey, juniors are supposed to be overbidders.)

It may seem a little funny to describe a bid in a constructive auction to a grand off a cashing ace as a great bid, but you can be the judge. This was the auction at the other table:

Rosenberg
10
AKQ108543
AJ102
North
87654
J9762
Q84
Kristensen
K9
AKJ3
KQ98763
South
AQJ32
1097652
54
W
N
E
S
 
1
P
2
P
3
P
4
P
5
P
5
P
6
P
6
P
7
P
P
P
D
4
7 East
NS: 0 EW: 0

Kevin Rosenberg, as West, just wanted to bid Exclusion for clubs. Maybe he should have done that directly over 2, but he got there eventually. Ben Kristensen showed his one keycard outside of diamonds, and Kevin signed off, knowing they were off a keycard.

Ben now emerged with an unusual bid for a Blackwood responder: 6. Kevin thought they must be having some sort of misunderstanding, either that Ben had misresponded to Exclusion or that he didn't think it had been Exclusion, so he "broke the Rosenberg slam rule" and bid 7. (You'll have to ask him, or another Rosenberg, what that rule is. I didn't get around to it last night.) That suffered the same fate as at our table.

So what was the great bid in this auction? 6. Ben knew if Kevin had his bid for 5, they must be cold for 6NT from his side. (OK, OK, maybe the same shape missing the Q would have bid the same way and they need a favorable opening lead, a drop, or a finesse.) If Kevin's missing keycard was the A, then 7 would be cold.

Edit: I misunderstood what Kevin said about the Rosenberg slam rule. What he actually said was that Ben had broken the Rosenberg slam rule with the 6 bid. See Debbie Rosenberg's comments below.

West
10
AKQ108543
AJ102
North
87654
J9762
Q84
East
K9
AKJ3
KQ98763
South
AQJ32
1097652
54
D
4

I haven't looked at the results across the other fields, but the under-26 crowd did not acquit themselves well on this board. 

In the USA2 match, the Chilean East-West pair thought the eight mostly-solid hearts would make a fine trump suit. Emphasis on mostly: 6 was doubled, and there were two trump losers. The defense failed to cash the A, so the penalty was "only" 200.

At the other table, the US players started 2-3-4, and then East chose an over-eager leap to 7NT. That was doubled, and the A was led, for another routine push.

East had various winning options. If he wanted to jump to grand, 7 stands out over 7NT. Not every 2 opener contains 22 HCP. However, on their auction and Kevin and Ben's, another teammate, Adam Kaplan, maintains that the right call by both hands is to psych Exclusion in spades. Surely this plan dominates merely jumping to seven, and if there ever was a pair of hands for psychic Exclusion, these must be in the running.

So there you have it: psychic Exclusion for all your sides.

Also, you may be interested to examine the traveler for Board 4.

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