Join Bridge Winners
Berkowitz-Cohen
bc David Berkowitz and Larry Cohen were one of the world’s leading pairs for almost two decades until Larry’s recent retirement from competitive bridge. Their last win was in the 2009 National Open Pairs. They also moderated the Bridge World’s Master Solvers Club together until David missed his 500th deadline, sending Larry into retirement from that too. This week’s UFR takes us way back to the 1997 Spingold Knockout in Albuquerque, New Mexico.





Weinstein
A75
4
974
Q109832
Cohen
Q1098643
K986
Q
4
Stewart
KJ2
AQJ103
J1062
5
Berkowitz
752
AK853
AKJ76
W
N
E
S
 
1
P
1
2
3
P
3
P
4
X
4
X
P
P
P
D
7
4X North
NS: 0 EW: 0


Should South open a strong club or start with 1?
Berkowitz-Cohen played a Precision system with a 16+ HCP 1 opener. It looks close to us, but opening 1 and jumping in clubs is a straight-forward and accurate description.

How should North treat his hand over 1?
3 would have been a weak jump-shift. While the values are right, 3 wouldn’t describe a hand with this much playing strength. 1 it is.

South’s 3 bid systemically shows a good hand.
Berkowitz-Cohen employ a convention commonly referred to as “Good/Bad.” In many situations--including this one--a 2NT rebid would show a desire to compete without substantial values. Responder is forced to bid 3 (or 3 if they can’t stand clubs), after which opener passes or shows a weakish hand with long diamonds by rebidding 3. The actual 3 was natural and showed extra values.

Should North, with a likely misfit, be looking to bail before the doubling starts?
What started as his biggest high-card asset, the K, now looks worthless. Bidding 3 could well be right but it has inherent danger, as we can see.

South’s choice over 3?
It seems like a clear pass except for one problem: is 3 forcing? North must have felt that 3 was non-forcing since he could have cue-bid 3. But using 3 as an all-purpose game force fails to clarify North’s intentions. Over 3, partner would bid 3NT with a stopper, which eliminates finding 4 intelligently when that is North’s intention. Furthermore, after the value-showing 3, one could argue that 3 would be forcing. The auction bears some similarities to the standard sequence 1-1; 3-3, although the precision context adds a limiting variable that might argue against a force. Would 3 be forcing in a standard (no precision, no Good/Bad) context?

North’s 4?
4m-X certainly would not have been pretty. North tried to avert disaster by bidding 4, but the situation arose because South’s 4 bid was likely based on the assumption that 3 was forcing. If South held a huge minor two-suiter that merited a 4 call, then 4 would be strange indeed.

Some bids fall through the cracks of system agreements. That appears to be the case here. Is there a generic agreement that could have helped avoid this disaster?

We pulled the tape, now we invite you to make the call.

33 Comments
Getting Comments... loading...
.

Bottom Home Top