Main     Almost Bridge 7F06 by Richard Pavlicek    

Rudolph Wins Again

It was the second annual North Pole Bridge Tournament and Rudolph, the famous reindeer, had returned to defend his championship. He and his partner Randolph were the hottest pair on hooves; but they now faced their arch rivals, Mush and Slush, the inventors of the Eskimo Club System.

7 D× by South

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

West
Slush

Pass
North
Randolph
1 C
Pass
East
Mush
1 NT
Dbl
South
Rudolph
7 D
All Pass

Randolph opened 1 C and mush overcalled 1 NT. This might have influenced the bidding of most players but not Rudolph, who had diamonds coming out of his antlers. “Seven diamonds,” he said with defiance.

“Double!” screamed Mush, “That’s the craziest bid I’ve ever heard.”

The excitement had drawn a large crowd to Rudolph’s table and the kibitzers were buzzing. “He bid too much this time,” said one, “The contract is impossible with the club finesse offside.”

But Rudolph had a magic of his own. “Impossible” for others only meant “difficult” for him. He once bid and made a grand slam off the ace of trumps; sure enough, one of the opponents revoked in the play so the one trick he lost was transferred to his side — making seven. Therefore, this contract was practically a cinch with the ace of trumps in his own hand.

Slush led the H 8, covered by the nine and queen, as Rudolph ruffed with the D 7. Dummy was entered with a spade to lead the D 4, which held the trick as Mush played low. Next came the H 10, covered by the king and ruffed.

Rudolph now started leading diamonds, and I mean diamonds — all but one in fact — as he threw clubs from the dummy. A spade was led to the ace to reach a three-card ending.

North remained with H J-3 and the C A. Rudolph held a trump and the C 3-2. It made no difference which cards Mush or Slush kept. If Mush blanked his H A, a heart ruff would establish the jack. If Slush did not keep two hearts, the lead of the H J from dummy would smother the eight and establish the H 3 into a winning trick.

Both defenders chose to keep two hearts so Rudolph next cashed the C A. Being a showman (or showdeer) he carefully unblocked the C 3 so he could win the last trick with the deuce.

The kibitzers roared! The Eskimos vowed to bar reindeer from all future tournaments. As the reindeer pranced and shouted with glee, everyone was reminded once again that Rudolph’s name would definitely go down in history.

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© 1985 Richard Pavlicek