There is a lot of humour at the bridge table, especially if you can laugh at yourself. A customer ordered my last copy of a second hand book “The Best of Eddie Kantar”, and I started browsing through some of his stories. Eddie is a truly funny guy, and his zaniness attracts weird and wonderful situations. And of course he is a great story-teller. Everyone knows how your options are limited after a 2NT opening, 20-22 balanced.

Among the many methods devised is one where the response of 3NT is a transfer to 4Club Suit, providing multiple extra meanings depending on responder’s next bid. But is this not dangerous, considering the hundreds of times one has made an auto 3NT response to 2NT? If you’ve ever read “Keycard Blackwood – The Untold Story” (Eddie invented Keycard back in the early 70’s) you will know that memory strain is not a consideration in Eddie’s approach.

So Eddie has agreed to play this 3NT transfer with Marshall Miles, and they are at day 8 of the US Nationals, and things are not going well. In fact they are taking a battering. For the first time in the event one of them has a 2NT opening.

Eddie is responder holding: Spade Suit Q4 Heart Suit 76 Diamond Suit AJ107632 Club Suit 54

Eddie thinks that slam is unlikely (Dealmaster Pro says slam is 51% opposite the constraints of 20-22 HCP and 2-4 cards in each suit), and decides the best score will be 3NT, so he bids 3NT. On the other side of the table Marshall, in an ethically-charged situation, has made a point of not looking at his partner, or observing the speed of the 3NT bid.

However, according to the rules, Marshall must alert the 3NT bid, which he does. Eddie gives absolutely nothing away during the alert and explanation. Lo and behold, Marshall declares, “It is supposed to show clubs, but I don’t believe it. Pass!”

Eddie could almost jump across the table and kiss Marshall, for figuring out Eddie had forgotten his beloved convention. What a player! As the play unfolds Eddie realises that 6Diamond Suit or 6NT is an easy make.

Remember this is day eight and nerves are frazzled. “Marshall”, beseeches Eddie “the least you can do is honour my transfer bids. What do you think – I don’t know what I am doing?”