Source: Pittsburgh Post-Gazette – 29 Jul 1939

“Dear Mr. Culbertson: The following hand, which I noticed in a recent rubber game, may be interesting to some of your readers. I don’t know that it points any splendid moral, but it does, I think, show how a player may extricate himself from a dangerous position into which his own ‘funny business’ has landed him.

Dealer North N/S Vul

K Q 2
K 6
A K Q J 10 4
K 10
10 8 5 4
8 6 5
Q 7 6 4 2
A 7 3
Q J 9 8 4
7 3
A 8 3
QJ 9 6
A 10 7 5 2
9 2
J 9 5
West North East South
1 Pass 4
Pass 4NT Pass 5
Pass Pass Dbl Pass
Pass Pass

“North and South were using the Blackwood Slam Convention. North’s opening bid was based on the hope that he would get to play the hand at three no trump, and it appeared (desirable to stop the lead of a heart or a club. (Naturally he couldn’t bid both suits). After East’s pass and South’s four heart bid, North bitterly regretted his first bid and searched for some solution whereby he might play the hand in diamonds. North realized that, no matter how often he bid diamonds, South was likely to insist on hearts, so he decided to make South bid the diamond suit!

The fact that the partnership was using the Blackwood Convention gave North the idea. If he were to bid four no trump at this stage and find South with only one ace (which seemed likely) South would have to bid a conventional five diamonds (showing one ace), and North would let him play the hand there. That is the way things worked out. South, holding one ace, had to answer with five diamonds, and North promptly passed.

When East doubled, it required terrific restraint, on South’s part to stand the double, but he had supreme confidence in North and felt that there must be some sound reason for North’s remarkable action in passing to what was so obviously the conventional answer to a Blackwood four no trump.

I think that South deserves great credit for realizing that there was something “cock-eyed” about the bidding and for leaving it to North to make the final decision. Obviously, the five diamond redoubled contract could not be beaten. East made only his two aces.—E. S., Rhode Island.”