Bridge with Brian -- © 2003 Adam Wildavsky


(Hand records are at the end of the document.)


I played with Brian Glubok for the first time in the second final session of the 2-day BAM at the Edgar Kaplan Regional in NYC at the end of December in 2002. We used the Kaplan-Sheinwold system, which I play regularly and Brian had played years ago with Edgar Kaplan. We had almost no discussion of system, but Brian had played the same system in the second session of the event, playing with Ivar Stakgold. They were also a first time partnership. I had played with Ivar both afternoons. Our teammates, Jim Krekorian and John Diamond, played throughout.


The field in the final was not as strong as in recent years. Tournament officials decided to qualify 13 teams out of 20, but even so two top teams had been eliminated Saturday.


We had a decent carryover and were two boards over average in the afternoon, but two teams, Fout and Ehrlichman, were each more than three boards ahead of us going into the final session. We were in turn four boards ahead of the fourth place team, so the event would likely go to one of the three of us. We needed a very good game. We also needed the two leaders not to do well. We would play against each of them, so in effect those boards would count double.


As in my recent Bridge Today article I will use “bridge verité”, describing every hand in the event rather than picking and choosing. I hope to convey something of the feeling of playing in a Board-a-Match event, and to show how and where boards get won and lost in practice. For anyone who finds the BAM format interesting I suggest playing in the event this December!


Brian and I sat at table 13 NS and played boards 1-24 in that order.


We started with a poor result. We passed out a hand where we could make a game. Fortunately our teammates made a part-score, so we won the board. That’s one of the grand things about board-a-match – one need only outscore one other pair to win a board, not the whole field.


On board 2 Brian and I reached 4H with the opponents silent. Brian managed an overtrick for +650. The overtrick proved unnecessary when our teammates sacrificed in 4S and went for 300.


On our third board together Brian decided to psyche. This worked well when our opponents failed to make a penalty double, likely because they were using a conventional double in its place. Our auction was something like this


S          W        N         E

P          P          1D       2C

2H       3C       P          3S

P          3N       P          4D

P          4S        P          4N

P          5C       all pass


5C was down three, an easy win when our teammates were +500 against 2H doubled after a 2H opening.


On board 4 our opponents misguessed the trump suit in 6H. This was a lucky win for our teammates who were in 3N making 3.


We played boards three and four against the team in second place. Winning both erased more than half of their lead against us.


On board 5 we bid and made 5C, an easy win when our teammates managed to buy the hand with a fourth hand 2S opening. They took eight tricks.


On board 6 we played 2S making 170 after using Drury. This would have been an average-plus result at matchpoints, but our teammates were –130 for another win.


On board 7 our opponents underbid and played a decent slam in a part-score:


S          W        N         E

1C       2D       P          4D

All pass


I resisted the temptation to double 4D for takeout. Our teammates reached 5D for another win.


On board 8 we reached 3N and I made it with a club lead after my LHO failed to find a difficult heart shift. This was the auction:


W        N         E          S

P          P          P          1D

P          1H       P          1N (15-17)

P          3N       all pass


Board 9 was our first loss. We play 2S non-forcing here, but that doesn’t mean I have to pass. I could have halved the board by bidding 2N over 2S – I think I should have. Brian would have converted to 3C and I’d have an easy pass.


W        N         E          S

            1S        P          2H

P          2S        all pass


Our game had fallen from 100% to 89%. We could afford another few losses, but I’d always rather avoid them!


On Board 10 Brian found an extra chance to make 4S – he ruffed out the HQ. The declarer at the other table didn’t try that, so we won another board.


I heard an amusing post-mortem on Board 11. Brian declared 3N after I opened 1D. He won the H lead with the J and led a diamond to the K, which West did well to duck. Now Brian ducked a club to East who returned a diamond. Brian guessed well to put in the ten and West switched to the S7. East won the SQ and could do no better than cash the SA to hold us to nine tricks.


After the hand East asked West why he had led the S7 instead of the SJ. West explained “I thought we led 3rd and 5th during the hand.” Our teammates were +50 against 3N played from the other side, so blindly following a rule cost West a full board.


On board 12 I decided to let Brian declare 3N, but East refused to be outbid. We’d make 3N only on a small diamond lead, so beating 4H a trick rated to win the board. In fact we collected 300 when declarer inexplicably pitched a club instead of ruffing the opening spade lead. As it turned out we needed the second undertrick to win the board since our teammates’ 2S opening was again passed out – it went down two.


W        N         E          S

P          1N(1)  2C(2)   3N

P          P          4H       Dbl

All pass


(1) 12-14

(2) Clubs or Diamonds or a Major/Minor 2-suiter


Our opponents reached 6D instead of 6N on board 13. We hoped to win the board but our teammates had a bidding accident and reached 6C. Most of the time this would have been good enough for a push but here 6C went down one on a diamond ruff. That brought our average down from 92% to 85%, which still rated to be more than enough to win.


Brian won board 14 for us by using Stayman on a hand where I would have passed. I scored 140 after a friendly defense but there was no way to beat 2H. Our teammates were +50 for another win.


We beat 3S a trick on board 15 – our teammates made two overtricks in the same contract for an easy win.


On board 16 our opponents had a bidding accident and played in a transfer going down four. Jim and John scored a fairly normal +150 in 1NT.


After 2/3 of the boards we had 14 wins, 2 losses, and no ties for 87.5%. It was too good to keep up.


We lost board 17 at both tables. Brian and I missed a making slam while our teammates doubled one. This was our auction


W        N         E          S

            1S        2C       3S (preemptive)

4C       4S        5C       Dbl

P          5S        all pass


Board 18 was our first push. Each table reached 3H, making four with a perfect fit and the normal trump guess.


This was a bad round to lose – we played it against the leaders. Other things being equal this would extend their lead to almost 4 1/2 boards. I knew other things were not equal – we’d been having a great game, but I had no idea how our opponents were doing.


Board 19 was another push, 4S making an overtrick off only two aces.


On board 20 we were +200 against 3H. This was only a fair result since it’s easy for our opponents to get overboard and with several finesses working we can make a game our way. Our teammates brought back an unusual result. They opened 1S and passed the semi-forcing 1N response, so they were –400. That beat par but lost the board.


This was the auction at our table:


W        N         E          S

1S        2C       2H       2N

3H       All pass


On board 21 Brian passed my negative double and we beat 3H a trick for +100. This turned out to be our third push of the session.


Board 22 was interesting. Our opponents opened 2N and reached 3N after using Stayman. I led the C8, which ran to the Queen. Declarer now cashed the top diamonds, risking a terrible result if they split 4-1. When the queen came down he had nine tricks. At the other table North went up with the CK at trick one and returned a club. Next declarer tried Ace and a diamond, keeping the heart finesse in reserve for his ninth trick. When it failed he was down a trick.


We were down to 70% now. Normally that would be a fine game, but here it would not be enough to win. We had to hope things would pick up the last round. We certainly got some action on board 23:


W        N         E          S

1D       P          1H       Dbl

Rdbl    2C       2H       3C

3D       P          3S        Dbl

3N       P          P          Dbl

All pass


Four clubs and two aces gave us 500. Our teammates were +130, also a good score since most pairs who found hearts played game and went down a trick.


On board 24 we had a quick auction to reach game: 1N P 3N. Brian won the heart lead in dummy and led a spade to the Q. East won and failed to shift to a diamond and that was that – we made 5. It turned out to be irrelevant – Jimmy and JD were +50.




These were the final scores:


Adam Wildavsky          Ivar Stakgold             1     35.40

Jim Krekorian           John Diamond         

Brian Glubok                                        


Samuel Ehrlichman       Bob Gwirtzman             2     34.72

Paul Bethe              Varis Carey          


John Fout               Richard De Martino        3     34.37

John Stiefel            Michael Kopera       

William Ehlers                                      




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