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Young Star Rising

January 26, 1969 — Fort Lauderdale News & Sun-Sentinel

Richard Pavlicek of Fort Lauderdale, one of the younger generation of duplicate players, has been rapidly forging to the front in Florida tournament competition.

In the past year he has won the Florida Regional Master’s Pairs and the Fort Lauderdale Master’s Pairs, both with George Barrs; the Gainesville Men’s Pairs with Skip Lujack; the Sarasota-Bradenton Men’s Pairs with Jim Beery; and the Clearwater Open Pairs with Clem Jackson.

This is clearly an outstanding record, accomplished mostly by playing with different partners in each tournament, and against the top players in Florida.

Pavlicek started to play bridge in February of 1965 while in West Germany with the U.S. Army. After three years of active duty, he was discharged in August 1966 and returned to Florida. He now works with his father, who owns and operates Acme Sheet Metal Specialties, Inc.

Starting to play duplicate bridge on a regular basis, he quickly became a Life Master in July 1968, shortly after the Florida Regional. Attaining the highest rank at bridge in the short space of two years is a remarkable achievement.

The following deal is from the Open Pairs at the Florida Regional in Jacksonville:

3 NT by South

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

West

Pass
All Pass
North

Dbl
East
3 S
Pass
South
Pass
3 NT

Pavlicek (South) did not have enough to act over three spades, but when his partner doubled he bid the vulnerable game. Passing for penalty would have worked better (an easy 700), but gambling on a four-trick set was surely against the odds.

Instead of a spade, West led the king of diamonds, and Pavlicek won the ace. The contract was cold of course, but overtricks are extremely important in matchpoint play. Convinced the diamond jack was a singleton, he cashed four rounds of hearts. East threw a spade, South a diamond, and West a spade.

Pavlicek next cashed the ace and queen of clubs to reach this ending:

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

A spade was led from dummy, East played the queen, and Pavlicek ducked to leave East on lead. The forced spade return allowed South to finesse the jack, then the ace was cashed.

Meanwhile, West had to part with two of his diamond winners to protect the jack of clubs, so Pavlicek exited with a diamond to endplay West in clubs.

Winning 11 tricks (660) was the top score of those who played in notrump, losing only to a few pairs who collected 700. However, if Pavlicek had left in the double, we wouldn’t have this well-played hand.

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© 1969 Roy W. Phoenix