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Brink-Drijver

Brink-Drijver

Sjoert Brinkand Bas Drijverare a staple partnership for the formidable team Oranje that went supersonic last year on the international circuit. Not only did the young Dutch pair win their first open world championship by defending their home turf in the Bermuda Bowl, but they followed up their victory with a dominating win in the inaugural Sport Accord World Mind Games Championship. And their success is nothing new. The longtime partners have also won the IOC Grand Prix Junior Teams in 2002, the 2009 Open European Championships, the 2010 European Champions Cup, and have many other high finishes to their names as well. You might wonder if a pair of competitors like this have ice water running through their veins, but it’s easy to see in Sjoert’s Bridge Winners interview that this is a partnership to feel happy for. Nevertheless, where champions go, UFR must follow. Today’s deal comes from the Round of 16 in the 2010 Rosenblum Cup.




Multon
AK
642
A97542
93
Drijver
74
Q3
KQ108
AKQ108
Zimmermann
10983
K8
J63
J642
Brink
QJ652
AJ10975
75
W
N
E
S
 
P
1
2
3
P
3
P
3N
P
4
P
6N
P
P
X
P
P
7
P
P
P
D
34
7 North
NS: 0 EW: 0
10
10 tricks claimed
N/S -300
1

One Heart
Flannery!
It’s widely known that playing strength can be just as important as high-card strength. Consequently, we are of the opinion that if opener reverses, and later patterns out to show 5-6 shape, he is allowed to be about a king light on high cards. But should the bar be even lower? Here, Brink’s bid emphatically says “Yes.” Let’s explore the alternatives.

  • 1. It would certainly make it easier to show both majors without significantly overstating values. However, if partner corrects hearts to spades it will be impossible to know whether your side is playing in the right strain.
  • Pass. “It’s a bidder’s game.” We’ve heard the phrase before but sometimes passing first and coming in later is the best way to describe a limited, distributional hand. Passing here and intervening with Michaels in a subsequent round—possibly even driving to the four-level—will still describe the hand well and has the added benefit of dispelling partner’s delusions of grandeur (or small slamdeur).

Three Clubs
North’s diamonds scream notrump; but what’s the rush? Bidding 3 keeps all possibilities alive and gives partner a better chance to make the right decision if he sets his sights higher.

Three Spades
What are South’s options? 3 would show the sixth heart but might make it difficult to find a spade game (see 4, below). Getting the spades in now is almost certainly the best option.

Three No Trump
North has a good hand for 3NT and might have bid it on much less. Is he worth a quantitative jump to 4NT? Would 4NT even be quantitative? The best way to answer this (frequent) question is to examine the alternatives. Is there a way for North to definitively set spades as trump before bidding 4NT? Would 4 say “I like spades” or be a choice-of-games (COG) cue-bid? If the former, then a jump to 4NT over 3 should be quantitative to avoid redundancy.

Four Diamonds
Brink intended 4 as a COG cue-bid. But is that reasonable? There are a number of hand types that South will have difficulty showing after the start to the auction including hands with both majors and those with a single-suited heart slam-try. From a practical point of view, it seems that 4 in this position should show a slam-going hand while 4 would be “like” a COG: South would not have bothered bidding 3 in the first place had he just wanted to play 4. But would 4 show 4=6 in the majors or 5=6? With 4=6 South might bid 3 over 3, allowing North to bid spades...but not so fast! After 3, partner’s first obligation with a diamond stopper should be to bid 3NT. Consequently, 3 over 3 should become a ‘punt’ by default and merely show an inability to bid 3NT. Clearly this is a complex bidding position and there are precious few bids available to untangle all the possibilities. Is there an optimal solution?

Six No Trump
North interpreted 4 as a slam try but, looking at his hand, is that likely? We would think that with a good 4612 hand South would bid out with 4. Most slam tries with alternate shapes would include the ace of diamonds but that sure seems unlikely given the overcall. Should North, on less than firm ground, cater to COG when his hand is telling him that’s at least probable?

Following this deal Brink-Drijver agreed to play cue-bids at the 4-level as COG if:
  1. The opponents have bid and
  2. No fit has been established.
That certainly would have saved the day on this deal, but how might they have stayed low at the table? Will the cost of giving up a convenient slam-going bid in the future outweigh the benefit?

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