Bill Passell of Coral Springs led a veteran team to victory in the Spingold Knockout Teams, the premier event of the Summer North American Championships completed August 13 in Las Vegas. This seven-day marathon began with 146 teams from the U.S., Canada and Mexico, most of which were composed of expert players. The other members of the Passell team were Russ Arnold, Miami; Tom Mahaffey, St. Petersburg; Jack Denny, Bradenton; Ira Rubin, Paramus NJ; and Charles Burger, Detroit.
Passell, a very popular bridge teacher and lecturer, needs no introduction to Florida bridge players. He has been a successful tournament player for many years. Witness todays deal, which illustrates his keen knack for card reading.
Passell, South, could only pass over Easts preemptive opening; but, when North reopened with a takeout double, he took a chance and jumped to game in his five-card suit.
West began with the club queen, then another club to Easts king. East led the club ace and South, knowing he was in danger of an overruff, trumped with the queen. West cleverly discarded a heart, hoping to persuade declarer that East held the king and eventually score two trump tricks.
This might have succeeded against a lesser declarer; but South was well versed in these tactics and concluded that East was very unlikely to hold the spade king because of his preempt. Backing his judgment, South led a spade to the jack and was relieved when East followed with the 10. The rest was easy. He crossed to the heart queen to lead the spade eight: nine, ace; and then another spade forced out the king. Eventually he was able to draw Wests last trump to make four spades.
© 1985 Richard Pavlicek