Main   Almost Bridge 7E14 by Richard Pavlicek  

Reindeer Group Denounces Writer

In response to last Sunday’s column, I received a telex from Fawn Deerborn, president of NAAR, apparently some reindeer organization. Miss Deerborn said her members were up in antlers about my accounts of last year’s North Pole tournament. She goes on to state, “Your condescending remarks about reindeer — in particular, the pillaging and plundering — were uncalled for and without foundation. In the future, please keep your opinions to yourself.” I was also “uninvited” to attend next year’s tournament.

Well, what can I say; I have never had a condescending attitude about reindeer. In fact I have always felt they have a place, not only at bridge tournaments, but around every home. To be sure, they make excellent hat racks, or perches for birds to build nests. Even in the summertime, they can be put to good use: Turn ‘em over and plow the garden!

In support of her claim, Miss Deerborn submitted today’s deal, which was played by her reindeer partner Randolph. Aggressive bidding led to a tenuous four-spade contract, doubled by West. She writes, “There was no defense to beat Randolph’s brilliant play.”

Board 20
Both Vul
S Q 8 3 2
H K 7 5
D Q 2
C K J 3 2
 
West
1 D
1 NT
Dbl
Fawn D.
North
Pass
3 S
All Pass
 
East
1 H
Pass
Randolph
South
1 S
4 S
S A J 9
H 4 3 2
D A K J 9
C 7 6 5
Table S 7
H Q J 10 9 8
D 5 4 3
C Q 10 9 8
4 S× South
Lead: D K
S K 10 6 5 4
H A 6
D 10 8 7 6
C A 4

“West cashed two diamonds and exited with a heart, sitting back to wait for his two sure trump tricks — or so he thought. Randolph won the heart ace, heart king, and ruffed a heart in his hand. Next came a diamond ruff; club ace-king; a club ruff; and another diamond ruff with the spade eight so East could not overruff.

“With only three cards remaining, Randolph ruffed dummy’s last club with the spade king and West was helpless. If he overruffed with the ace, he would have to lead away from the jack-nine; if he underruffed, declarer would win both the king and queen. Either way, all West could win was the ace of spades.”

Reply

Dear Miss Deerborn: The hand was well-played for a hat rack, er reindeer; but I dispute your contention that the defense was accurate. West can defeat four spades simply by leading a trump at trick two. Later, when he wins the diamond ace, he can clear trumps. This leads to the normal reindeer result, down one.

Respectfully yours, R.P. TopMain

© 1989 Richard Pavlicek