Almost Bridge 7E12   Main

Bridge Book Draws Global Dissent

  by Richard Pavlicek

Traditionalists in the bridge community are in an uproar over this month’s publication of Satanic Bridge Verses. Libelous attacks were launched on every aspect of the establishment — from the Goren system to the Blackwood convention — leaving no stone unturned. All the familiar principles of our favorite game were ridiculed.

Yesterday I spoke by phone with the author, Salmon Trustme, who would not divulge his whereabouts. He claimed that he overheard a conversation in which a contract was put out on his life; but I really think he heard someone say he never made a contract in his whole life — a point that few of his bridge partner’s would dispute. I asked him for an item from his book, and he offered me today’s deal.

6 C×× South
None Vul
S 8 4 2
H Q 4 3 2
D 8 7 6 5 4 3
1 D
4 S
2 D
6 C
S Q J 10 9 7
H 5
D A K Q J 10 9 2
TableS 6
H J 10 9 8 7 6
C 8 7 6 5 4 3

Lead: D A
S A K 5 3
C A K Q J 10 9 2

According to Salmon, he was South and his opponents were Charles Goren and Easley Blackwood, a couple of “crumb bums” who were “easy money” for a player of his stature. After a bristling auction, South became declarer in six clubs, doubled by East, and of course redoubled by Salmon.

West led the diamond ace, dummy came down, and Salmon tabled his hand claiming, “I will make six clubs on a trump-sacrificing suicide squeeze. There is no point in playing it out, as I am the greatest card player in the world.” Few people would accept a claim like that, so Salmon elucidated:

“I will ruff the opening lead high and cash five top trumps, two top hearts and one top spade. Then I will lead the deuce of trumps, which East must win and return a heart. North remains with one spade, the heart queen, and a diamond so West will be squeezed on this trick; he cannot keep both a high diamond and a spade stopper.”

Yes, that works — except for one small glitch. Can you spot the defense that will put Salmon back in his tuna can?

You guessed it! East must ruff his partner’s ace at trick one. This spoils the timing for the squeeze, and the contract cannot be made with any play.

Smoked salmon anyone?

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© 1989 Richard Pavlicek