Breaking news: Klukowski wins the Draper Award

More bridge from Lyon. Following up on Monday's blog, here is the next award that you do not, i repeat not,want to win. I’ve called it the Draper award and there is even a first winner.

How did it get its name? Well, in a close battle of the semi-finals of the Venice cup, take Catherine Draper's seat for the UK. You pick up this collection, vulnerable against not, in first seat. That is an obvious pass, LHO starts off with a 14+-17 1NT, then a pass from partner.

The auction continues as shown in the diagram. 3showed 54 or better in the minors and a strong hand, 3asked, 4showed longer diamonds, short hearts and a hand strong enough to bypass 3NT. 3NT in the same sequence would also have shown 5-4with short hearts but a weaker hand. 6is attempt to play there, 6and 7are natural and it is your turn to bid again.

A day later, you find yourself in the transnational teams, playing for the Polish team against a Belgium pair. Partner deals and passes, you have nothing to add to the proceedings either and the opponents start to bid. 1was 2+, natural or any 12-14 balanced (but not stronger: 15-17 balanced would open 1NT, 18-19 balanced would open 1and 2 level bids show stronger hands). 2showed 5-4 or better in the minors and a game-force. Everything else is natural. Again, your turn to bid.

You are probably not going to believe it, but in both cases the player selected a PASS for his final bid.

On the first hand, partner leads something and you score your obvious trick for down 1. +50 still meant a gain when your teammates bring in +400 (in 5) but if the matched had ended there and then, you’d have lost by 0.5 of an imp. Doubling would have meant winning by the same margin.

Is there a reason for not doubling? Well, you might argue that the opponents can run to 7or 7NT, with opener holding something likeAQJT,AKx,x,Jxxxx and dummyxx,Q,AKQJT9,KQxx. Partner cannot lead a club and declarer has 13 tricks outside the club suit by finessing twice in spades. But seriously, this doesn’t look like winning bridge to me. And iif this happened to you, any bridgeplaying psychiatrist would be happy to give you a free consult or two.

The player in question was Catherine Draper and we’ll name an award after her: The Draper award for not doubling 7 holding a cashable ace.

The hand was played 12 times in the various semi-finals, with only 1 pair reaching the correct contract of 6: the Polish mother-daughter partnership of Cathy and Zofia Baldysz. 1(Polish), 2(Game-force with diamonds), 2NT, 3, 4(all natural) followed by some cuebids and keycard. After a diamond lead, declarer knocked out theA and had her 12 tricks. 6was bid once and defeated after a club lead, the other pairs stayed in game.

You’d think that it’d be a long time before somebody actually won this award but watch what happened the next day. Michal Klukowski knew he was on lead against 7NT and is probably aware that there are no higher contracts than 7NT. Still he passed… Down 2 as things had completely gone wrong for the opponents. Their convention card is not conclusive as who got this wrong for NS.

At the other table, your teammates had a disaster on this board as well, ending up in 6NT down 1, so you still win 2.

However, this makes Michal Klukowski the first winner of the Catherine Draper award for passing 7 holding an ace. East (Gawrys) is awarded a close second. He too could double but there is no doubt some layout where this is wrong. Prizes to be collected from my office.

Henk Uijterwaal 2019