February Slam Almanac
February is one of those peculiar months with weather ranging from 76 here in Pennsylvania today, and 23 degrees last Monday. Maybe this accounts for some of the peculiar February events. For example:
For those of us who think nothing good ever came from hanging out in bars? Nay, nay! How about this? On a cold day in the winter of 1975 Gary Dahl was in his favorite watering hole with a bunch of pals, and the conversation turned to how much trouble their pets were. As beer-fueled conversations are likely to do, a hilarious discussion of what the perfect pet would be ensued. And from that discussion, Gary came up with the Pet Rock, which was a HUGE marketing success, making Gary a millionaire several times over. The craze only lasted six months, but it has certainly become part of our cultural consciousness.
And how about this gem:
Philadelphia has had a lot of strange events over the centuries (not to mention its recent Superbowl win), but surely the 1856 convention for the "Know Nothing" political party to nominate its presidential candidate has to rate right up there. The party started as a movement against the influence of immigration. I will bite my tongue eschew all comments and move directly to our Slam hands.
In bridge, most of us would admit to occasionally being a "Know Nothing." Let's see if we can avoid this a little more by working on our slams with the help of our Vu-Bridge guides.
MATTHIAS HUBERSCHWILLER has six hands to start us off. A few of the concepts: Fear of giving up the lead, how to find control cards without using Blackwood, no five-card suit in dummy should ever be ignored, managing entries, and the glories of the Cross-Ruff.
BEN NORTON knows a thing or two, too. He’s got six hands on the mysteries of the Safety Play. Often when we’re playing, we get kicked in the teeth when we find out we’ve got a bad split in a suit. These hands help us avoid the problem before it actually occurs, by using the Safety Play. This technique, once mastered, will boost our play of the hand and get us out of the “Know Nothing” party.
My six hands focus on situations that pop up over and over. If we Know Something about solid techniques, we can prevail. Look for: timing, the 75% solution, which finesse to take first, and other ways to find the correct order of play.
MATTHIAS HUBERSCHWILLER also has two quizzes. One is about a very useful bid, “Fourth Suit Forcing,” and a Bid-a-Hand.
Need I say that after this issue, we will no longer Know Nothing?