Bridge: a hand so classic in its simplicity
We are slowly entering the fall season at the Club. The Friday games recommenced yesterday and next week on the 21st and 25th we will have the Open Pairs Championship and things will be back to normal.
Good to see the great article on the remarkable Nea Willits in The Royal Gazette this week.
In it Nea mentioned that she plays bridge down at the Club and credited much of her amazing energy and sharpness to a physical exercise regime with her personal trainer.
I am sure that the exercise plays a huge part in keeping her in good shape but I've always said that there is no better game than bridge to keep one quick and sharp and I'm sure that is also a big factor in Nea's wellbeing. Anyway, Nea, keep doing what you are doing right now as it clearly works!
Before I get to the hand ... a few weeks ago I wrote about cheating in bridge and how much cleaner the game is now than it was two decades ago. I still believe that, but if you read the bridge press over the last month you would never believe that to be true!
First a top Israeli pair have been reported for cheating (by their team-mates who have handed back their prizes and master points for the events they won with that pair!) then a US team was awarded gold medals for the Senior World Championships held back in 2013 after the German team was stripped of the title after two members of the team were found guilty of illegal signals.
And then, in perhaps the most bizarre case of all, the great Mike Passell was suspended by the ACBL in a ruling that appears totally bizarre based on the facts (he was accused of altering the cards in a hand after playing it when he clearly was trying to replace a card that had fallen out of the Board but did it incorrectly). He has since been reinstated “pending a review”!
How anyone would think that a player would hope to get away with that is really strange and further anyone who knows Passell, and I think I do, would laugh at the suggestion that he would ever do something like that, or would ever need to! Strange happening indeed!
Back to more mundane things.
This week's hand is classic in its simplicity but emphasises the need to stay alert and not get lazy.
South played in 3NT and West led the Heart Jack. South had six quick tricks and it looked like there were another three available in Diamonds so he won the Ace of Hearts in dummy and led a low Diamond to the King which held. He now led another one back to the Jack — West discarded a Club, East won the Ace and fired back a Heart and now the contract was down one!
The full hand:
Declarer in the other room was a bit better and a lot less lazy.
When the Diamond King won he crossed back to dummy with a Club and led another low Diamond — East was fixed.
He couldn't take the Ace as that would give declarer the three Diamond tricks he needed so he played low and the Queen won, West pitching a Club. Now declarer played a low Spade from hand and the defence could not stop him winning one Spade, two Hearts, two Diamonds and four Clubs … … that adds up to nine tricks and a making contract! Very nice play!