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The Apple. The Law and the Principle

   by Bernard Marcoux, Montréal


The apple tree has always attracted human kind: Adam and Eve, Newton and . . . Eric Kokish.  What?  Yes,

Eric has once written that if you shake an apple tree (well, a bridge tree??!), ten good dummy players will

 fall, but maybe only one good bidder.


Is the one good bidder 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:  “Don’t bid a grand slam if you cannot count 13 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 curve ball.


And, in 1990, after winning a world championship in Geneva, Gabriel Chagas who often throws curve balls has invented the

 Chagas Principle: “If you're lucky or good on the first board, things are probably going to go 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



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







Partner opens 1, you bid 1.  Partner jumps to 3NT, showing long solid .  This is the time to imagine: if partner has Qx or

 even Jx in , you have a chance in 6.  You have no means to know, you must imagine.


You were average in the afternoon, tonight you must make it happen.


The longer you think, the less you know and the more you find that you have to plunge.  You bid 6.


Dummy                  You

K5                       AQ87

Q                         K1098753

752                      A6

AKJ7532            --


Dummy is one card short of your imagination but, then again, dummies always lack imagination.  You take the K lead with

your Ace, go to dummy  with a , play AK of to pitch a and a .  The moment has come:  Q of trumps . . . holds.  You

 ruff a and, imagining Jx somewhere, you play K of trumps . . . for the J and Ace : +1430 (12 IMPS).


In the 3rd round, the opponents, after pre-empts (curve balls) from your part, play 6 and 4, go down in both contracts and

 you gain 17 IMPS.  You feel you can't lose now.


In the fifth round, white against red, you and your partner throw a rising fast ball, one can't always throw curve balls, can one? 






LHO                                                 RHO

AK10xx                                          QJ9xx

10xx                                              QJ

x                                                   Ax

AJ8x                                              Q10xx







You                 LHO                       Part.                       RHO

2                   2                          5                          5


Partner plays AK of and .  Declarer pulls trumps and plays Q of .  You cover.  She takes the Ace and plays . . .

the J from her hand !!??!!  A mean sinker.  One down : + 13 IMPS.


Is it possible?


In the 6th round, the opponents climb up to 5, vul., doubled.  Declarer can escape for - 200, but makes also a mistake and

 you reap +500, 6 IMPS.


After 7 rounds, you are + 61 IMPS.  Halfway to go.


In the 8th round, you pick up:







Part.        RHO                       You                        LHO

1         2                           3                          p

4          p                             4                          p

5          p                             5                          p

5NT         p                             6                          p

6          p                              ?                             


4 is KCB and 5 asks for specific king(s);  5NT shows the K of and does not deny another king; 6 asks specifically for

 the king of clubs and 6 denies it.  What do you do?  Do you know if partner has the Q of or the Q of ?  No.


You are at the crossroads : do you follow the Law of Gravitynovetter? 


 With this hand, you know you can count only 12 tricks.  Or should you apply the Chagas Principle?  Should you bid 7NT, even if

 partner has denied the king of ?  Should you imagine 13 tricks even if you cannot count 13 tricks?  Should you go against the

 Law of Gravitynovetter?


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!!!














You win 10 IMPS and finish second overall, +84 IMPS.


In ordinary conditions, follow the law of Gravitynovetter :  Do_not_bid_a_grand_slam_if_you_cannot_count_13_tricks  A fast

 ball on the nose is a lot of pain.


In exceptional situations, forget Newton and follow the Chagas Principle, think in curves, imagine


You cannot fail.