The Best Line – The Gee Chronicles
Nov 152002

Both Vul
Dealer: West
Lead: HA

S Q J 9 7 6
D A K 5
C A K Q 10 2
S 3
H 10 9 8 7 5
D 9 3
C J 9 8 7 5
[W - E] otherguy
S K 5 4 2
H A 3
D J 10 8 6
C 6 4 3
S A 10 8
H K Q J 6 4 2
D Q 7 4 2
1 S
3 C
7 S
2 H
4 S
5 C


I often hear complaints that I never show Gerard in a favorable light. Of course most of those complaints are from Gerard himself, but fair enough. Today’s hand, on which Gee, as declarer, takes an unusual but optimal line, not once, but twice, should quiet the nay-sayers for a while.

The bidding, too, has points of interest. Gee opens his superb hand a normal 1S in second seat and hears a game-forcing 2H response from his partner. He rebids 3C and his partner jumps to 4S, showing three-card support. 5NT, the grand slam force, asking partner to bid a grand with two of the top three trump honors, is the forced choice for those of us with only standard bidding arsenals. Gee launches into RKC Voidwood, the Cohen treatment. Ordinary Voidwood has special bids for responder to show voids as well as keycards. Cohen Voidwood, on the other hand, is a method allowing the asker to show a void. (Note that the void is not guaranteed, and the suit is not specified.)

Partner replies 5C, showing one keycard, and Gee leaps to 7S, giving N/S a rare chance at a freely bid grand missing both of the top trumps. This is just as promptly doubled by East, who holds both of the missing key cards and has a certain trump trick assuming dummy has no more than three.

East leads the HA. Gee ruffs in hand and now needs only to bring the trump suit in to make. He leads the SQ. It holds. Gee infers that trump are breaking and the king is onside, and claims. Indisputably the optimal line, but no luck: East declines. Another trump to the 10 reveals the bad news. And now the key play: a high heart from dummy, discarding a small diamond from hand, killing his outside entry. A pedestrian player would still survive for down 1 by continuing hearts until East ruffed in. Gee takes a more elegant approach. First he cashes the trump ace, removing his last entry to dummy. Then he plays hearts. East ruffs in, and Gee claims down 1, again optimally. This second misclaim has a real chance to work — it’s certainly better than the alternative, hoping East returns a club — but East unfortunately notes that he can return a diamond, sticking Gee with a club loser at the end. Down 2, one off for each superb play. Life is so unfair sometimes.

  4 Responses to “The Best Line”


    I thought of a lot of funny reasons why 4N then 7S — for instance, that Gee had borrowed the inverted minor idea and had swapped the meanings of 4N and 5N — but then I realized that he probably plays 0314 and assumed that partner had three keys, cause, you know, he jumped. Are you sure Gee plays 1430?


    In fairness to Gee in the auction, there must have been a misunderstanding. 5C must have shown 0 or 3 keycards to Gee, and clearly zero was impossible in light of the bidding, and hence Gee’s well-judged leap to the grand was due to his partner’s incorrect response to Cohen Voidwood. The extra ace opposite Gee’s void would obviously suffice as a parking spot for whichever of Gee’s lowest minor cards happened to be a loser; the possibility that both were losers opposite AKx,AJxxxx,xxxx,- was apparently not a concern. So far as fairness in the dummy play is concerned, well…there’s little difference in the score between 7 down two, and 6, down one.


    Isn’t the mistake made by South when he bid 4sp instead of 3sp? After the 3sp bid he can pass any response from G and hopefully they will get a plus score. And of course he should pass the Cohen Voidwood.

    I think the best strategy when partnering G is to bid canape style, bid your short suits first in case G has them and then rebid them if he doesn’t support.


    Gerard, I honestly hope you get better. I really do. Some hints.

    1. Don’t use any form of regular blackwood if you have a void. Lets take the above example. Say partner responds 5h, indicating 2 keys in most form of blackwood. Are you any better off? What if one of the keys is the A of h?

    2. If you have a hand where blackwood does you no good, then try cuebidding. 5c would work admirably in the above hand.

    Good luck!

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