Mike Lawrence
Mike Lawrence

Wikipedia: Michael Steven Lawrence (born May 28, 1940) is an American bridge player, teacher, theorist, and prolific writer. Lawrence was born in San Francisco. He started playing bridge while he was a chemistry student at the University of California.

In 1968, he was invited by Ira Corn to join the newly formed Dallas Aces team. He formed a partnership with Bobby Goldman, with whom he played a 2/1 game forcing system. They started by winning several North American Bridge Championships and, after a long Italian Blue Team reign, returned the world crown to America by winning the Bermuda Bowls in 1970 and 1971. Lawrence and James Jacoby left the Aces in 1973.

He has written more than twenty books. He received numerous book-of-the-year awards starting with his first book, How to Read Your Opponents’ Cards. He contributed to the theory of 2/1 game forcing systems, and his “2/1 semi-forcing” approach competes with Max Hardy’s “unconditional forcing” approach. Together, they wrote the book Standard Bridge Bidding for the 21st Century in 2000. He also helped develop educational bridge software with Fred Gitelman.

In addition to his world championships with the Aces, Lawrence has won another Bermuda Bowl in 1987 in partnership with Hugh Ross along with  teammates Hamman, Wolff, Martel and Stansby.

IMPs Dealer North. Both Vul

J 10 8
A K Q J 6 5
2
8 6 5
A K Q 7 6 4
2
Q J 3
A J 9
West North East South
2 Pass 2
Pass 41 Pass 4NT
Pass 5 Pass 6
Pass Pass Pass

1- Splinter.

Opening lead: K

This hand combined a little system and a little optimism with a shred of common sense. North contributed the system. He opened a husky 2bid, no doubts eyeing the vulnerability. When South bid 2forcing, North reevaluated his hand. In support of spades, it could hardly be better. Hence the 4splinter bid which promise spade support, a good weak two-bid, nd a singleton or void in diamonds.

South contributed the optimism when he drove to slam. It was not senseless optimism, but since North had the dummy he did, no one can quibble with South’s bidding.

West led theK against 6. It is your turn

With the opponents getting off to a club lead instead of talking their diamond winner, it looks like there might be thirteen tricks. If so, South will get enjoy East’s telling West that a diamond lead would have been better.

South wins with theA and draws two rounds of trumps. This is where the common sense comes in. If South thinks that he wants all thirteen tricks, he will draw trump and try the heart suit. When it divides 5-1 slam goes down. If South thinks to himself that just being in 6 is a good result, he may consider playing theA and ruffing a heart before drawing the last trump. The insurrance play can cost a trick, but it makes the slam virtually cold.

There is much to be said for putting your greed on hold when you are already being well rewarded.

The complete deal:

J 10 8
A K Q J 6 5
2
8 6 5
9
10 8 7 4 3
K 10 7
K Q 10 3
5 3 2
9
A 9 8 6 5 4
7 4 2
A K Q 7 6 4
2
Q J 3
A J 9

 Don’t forget to follow us @