Caltech Wins Intercollegiate Regional

In a very tightly contested regional final, Caltech ``B'' came from fourth place after two sessions to win the Intercollegiate Regional Tournament. Our region includes California, Nevada, Hawaii, and a bunch of islands. The winners were Jeff Goldsmith, Fred Upton, Bobby Bodenheimer, and Brian McAllister. Leading the field after each of the first two sessions, and finishing third were Caltech ``A'', Dan Weaver, Dan Xystus, Phil Cofield, and Willy Watson.

Average was 120 Victory Points. The final leaders were:

1stCaltech B180 VPs
2ndBerkeley 1172 VPs
3rdCaltech A169 VPs
4thUCLA 1160 VPs
This week's hand almost cost the winners their match against UCLA 1.

I held in second seat, not vulnerable vs. vulnerable:

 S:AQ4 H:AKJ1062 D:A10 C:A9
This would be an easy 2C: opening bid, but unfortunately, dealer, on my right, opens 3D:. This call is easy: I must double for takeout. I intend to bid hearts, but I want to indicate to partner that my hand is flexible; I have a decent dummy for spades, or maybe even clubs. The opponents have done their dirty work and pass hereafter, but partner finds a 5C: call, leaving me with a problem.

The choices seem to be: Pass, 5D:, 5H:, 5NT, 6C:, and 6H:. Partner has shown some values, so we must have a slam, so I do not want to pass. Clubs might well not be the right strain, either, so I must bid something. 5D: would be fine if it suggested that partner describe his hand, but in this position it must be a forcing club raise. I want to get the majors into the picture, so I think 5D: is off on the wrong tangent. 5NT is the Grand Slam Force in clubs, asking partner to bid seven with two of the top three honors in clubs. He must have club length and either the H:Q or the S:K, or both, for his jump, so this is not unreasonable, but I do not think I ought to commit to a grand slam having never bid hearts. 5NT must be better than 6C:, though, since it puts a grand into the picture. What about 6H:? That has to be wrong; partner will pass when clubs or spades are better. If partner does not have support, I might lose a heart and a diamond before I get started. How about 5H:? Oddly, I think think this should be forcing. I cannot have a two-suited hand because I doubled rather than bid 4D: over the preempt. If I have just a one-suited hand with hearts, it must be so good that, with partner's stated values (he jumped), then slam must be on. With good, but not quite this awesome a hand, I would have bid 4H: immediately over the preempt. Therefore, I must have either a flexible hand that is not sure about the strain, or a huge hand that wants partner to further describe his hand (at the five-level!)

If 5H: is forcing, is it right? It seems right to bid hearts now. If partner bids spades or rebids clubs, at least I have some confidence that we are in the right suit. I am still concerned, however, about the play of the hand at hearts. I can see two quick losers if partner does not have the H:Q. Partner has stated that he thinks that clubs ought to be trumps. I cannot tell, and I do not think that I shall ever be able to decide intelligently at this level, so I think it is best to follow partner's lead. I rank the choices, adding 6NT and 7NT, which, at least, are possible guesses as to the final contract:


Copyright © 1992 Jeff Goldsmith