Main     Article 7A03 by Richard Pavlicek    

Bridge For All Ages

I arrived in Kansas City a day before the Vanderbilt in order to get in a few practice sessions with my partner Bill Root. Midway through the evening session of the Flight A Open Pairs we arrived at the table of Lynne Feldman and her 11-year-old son Jason, from Champaign, Illinois. An easy round perhaps? Hardly!

Jason seemed to have the maturity and poise of a person twice his age (or four times, six times…pick one) as he earned himself a cold top on the first board.

Board 25 4 C by East

E-W Vul
S 8 7 3
H A 6
D K 10 8 6 4
C K Q 8
S A K Q J
H Q J 8 7 2
D J 2
C 10 7
TableS 9 6
H 10 5 4
D 9 7
C A J 9 6 4 3
Lead: D AS 10 5 4 2
H K 9 3
D A Q 5 3
C 5 2

West
Bill

Dbl
North
Lynne
1 D
3 D
East
Me
Pass
4 C
South
Jason
2 D
All Pass

Most players would respond 1 S with the South hand, but Jason didn’t like the quality of his spade suit. He opted to raise his mother’s diamond suit — rather keen judgment for an 11-year-old. (British author-expert Terence Reese would surely approve.)

What would you now do as West? Bill Root elected to double (as would almost any fine player). After all, who bids a minor suit over a takeout double when both majors are unbid? Gulp. North compounded the problem with a blocking bid of 3 D, and I guess I should have passed. But hope springs eternal, and I came to the rescue with that beautiful 4 C bid.

The defense was flawless. Jason led the ace and another diamond, then came two hearts and ruff. Down three, minus 300, and all the matchpoints to North-South.

On the next board it was Mom’s turn to shine.

Board 26 3 NT by North

Both Vul
S K 7
H A 10 4
D A Q 10 9 8 2
C 10 7
S 4 3
H K Q J 9 5 3
D 6 5
C K 3 2
TableS Q J 5 2
H 8 7 2
D J 4
C 8 6 5 4
Lead: H 2S A 10 9 8 6
H 6
D K 7 3
C A Q J 9

West
Bill

3 H
North
Lynne

3 NT
East
Me
Pass
All Pass
South
Jason
1 S

Bill’s 3 H preempt made it difficult to reach the optimum contract of 6 D, and Lynne’s 3 NT bid would be the choice of most experts. This contract was destined for a mediocre score, but she made the most of it in the play.

I led the H 2 and the jack was captured with the ace. With 10 top tricks the problem was: Who has the C K? If East held it, she could win 12 easy tricks (probably 13 with a squeeze); if West held it, she does best to cash out or try for an endplay.

In expert fashion Lynne ran her diamonds then cashed both top spades ending in the North hand. West also had to guess what declarer was going to do. Was she going to cash out? Or try for an endplay? The former seemed more likely so West kept K-x in clubs. Sorry. Out came a heart and West had to surrender the last two club tricks to dummy. Winning 11 tricks salvaged a decent score.

Oh, well. Maybe we’ll run into some easier opponents in the Vanderbilt.

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© 1993 Richard Pavlicek