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Imagine ... and capitalise!

The Apple, the Law and the Principle

Bernard Marcoux 


The apple tree has always attracted human kind: Adam and Eve, Newton and ... Eric Kokish? (What? Yes, Eric once wrote that if you shake an apple tree [well, a bridge tree??!], ten good dummy players will fall out but maybe only one good bidder.)

Is the one-good-bidder principle the same apple that Newton received on his nose (OK, maybe it fell at his feet)? The pain Newton felt prompted him to invent the Law of Gravity. The pain of going down one has also prompted Matthew Granovetter to formulate the Law of

Granovetter, or should we say the Law of gravitynovetter: 'Never bid a grand slam if you cannot count thirteen tricks'.

Well, after Newton came Albert Einstein who said that: 'Imagination is more important than knowledge' and that the fast ball Newton saw falling from the tree is actually a curved ball.

And, in 1990, after winning the World Championship in Geneva , Gabriel Chagas, who always throws curved balls, invented the Chagas Principle. 'If you're lucky or good on the first board, things are probably going your way.'

 

So, all this gibberish means that if you think in straight lines you are applying the Law of Gravitynovetter.

And if you think in curves, if you let your imagination sometimes supersede your knowledge, you are following the Chagas Principle.

 

IN the second session of a Calcutta *, you pick up your first hand:

 

A Q 8 7

K 10 9 8 7 5 3

A 6

♣ ---

 

(*A duplicate tournament where before the event an auction is held and all the competing pairs are 'sold', thus money is raised, some of which goes to the winners, some to the 'purchaser' and often some to a charity. )

Partner opens One Club, you bid One Heart. Partner jumps to 3NT showing long solid clubs. This is the time to imagine: if partner has queen or jack doubleton in hearts, you have a chance in Six Hearts. You have no means of knowing, you just imagine. You were average in the afternoon session; tonight you must make it happen.

The longer you think, the less you know and the more you find that you have to take the plunge. You bid Six Hearts.

Partner has

 

♠ K 5

Q

7 5 2

♣ A K J 7 5 3 2

 

Dummy is one card short of what your imagination dreamt up but, then again, dummy always lacks imagination. You take the king of diamonds opening lead with your ace, go to dummy with a spade, play the ace and king of clubs to pitch a diamond and a spade. The moment of truth has come: queen of trumps ... holds. You ruff a diamond and, imagining jack doubleton somewhere, you play the king of trumps ... for the jack and ace. +1430 (12 IMPs).

 

In the third round, the opponents, after pre-empts from your side, play Six Spades and Four Spades, go down in both contracts and you gain 17 IMPs. You feel you can't lose now. In the fifth round, you and your partner throw a rising fast ball (one can't always throw curved balls, can one?):

  East Dealer Q J 9 7 4    

 

N-S Game

 Q J

 

 

 

 

 A 9

 

 

 

 

 Q 10 6 3

 

 

 

 

 

N

 

 

65     2

 A K 7 5 3

 

W                          E

 9 8 4

 Q 8 7 5 3

 

 

 K J 10 6 2

 7

 

 

 K 9 4 2

 

 

 

S

 

 

 

 

 A K 10 8 3

 

 

 

 

 10 6 2

 

 

 

 

 4

 

 

 

 

 A J 8 5

 

 

                           

W

N

E

S

 

 

2

2♠

5

5♠

All

Pass

Partner leads three rounds of hearts. Declarer draws trumps and plays the queen of clubs. You cover. She takes the ace and plays ... the jack from her hand!?! One down, +13 IMPs. Is it possible?

IN the sixth round the opponents climb to Five Clubs, vulnerable, doubled. Declarer can escape for -200, but also makes a mistake and you reap +500, 6 IMPs.

AFTER seven rounds, you are +61 IMPs. Halfway to go.

IN the eighth round, you play against good players experiencing a bad round, and they hurt you on the first board. They bid a real curved ball (the standard ball being 3NT): Six Diamonds, making seven, your first negative score of the round.

On the next board, you pick up the following as South:

 

 

 

S

 

 

 

 

 A 6

 

 

 

 

 A K Q 7 5 3 2

 

 

 

 

 K 6

 

 

 

 

 Q 4

 

 

                           

W

N

E

S

 

1♣

2♠

3

Pass

4

Pass

4♠

Pass

5

Pass

5♠

Pass

5NT

Pass

6♣

Pass

6

Pass

?

 

 

 

 

 

Four Spades is Key Card Blackwood and Five Spades asks for specific king(s)

5NT showed the king of spades and does not deny another king; Six Clubs asks specifically for the king of clubs and Six Hearts denies it. What do you do? Do you know if partner has the queen of spades or the queen of diamonds? No.

You are at the crossroads: do you follow the Law of Gravitynovetter? With this hand, you know you can only count twelve tricks. Or should you apply the Chagas Principle? Should you bid 7NT, even if partner has denied the king of clubs? Should you imagine thirteen tricks even if you cannot count thirteen tricks? Should you go against the Law of Granovetter?

Yes, and you cannot miss; from board one, luck was with you. Everything you have done turned out right; opponents have given you tons of IMPs; you're riding a high wave of success; in these special conditions, the Chagas Principle overrules the Law of Gravitynovetter. Don't go against the good vibrations, remember the first board, you cannot fail. Think in curves, not in straight lines. Imagination is more important than knowledge. Bid 7NT!!  

 

Dummy has:  

                                 K Q 5 3

                     ♥  J 6 4

                      ♦   A 8 5     

    

                      ♣  A 7 3

 

You win 10 IMPs and finish second overcall, +84 IMPs. In ordinary conditions, follow the Law of Gravitynovetter: 'Do not bid a grand slam if you cannot count thirteen tricks.' A fast ball on the nose is a lot or pain.

 

IN exceptional situations, forget Newton and follow the Chagas Principle, think in curves. So my BOLS bridge tip is:

Imagine ... and capitalise!

 

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