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Two Teens Take Top

  by Charles Goren and Omar Sharif

Bridge (syndicated column) — September, 1988

If there’s one thing we regret, it’s that we didn’t learn to play bridge much earlier than we did. The senior member of your writing team learned while he was at McGill University in Montreal; the junior member, while waiting for his scenes to be shot on movie lots. When we see how some teenagers perform today, we are filled with awe.

Two of the brightest prospects on the American bridge scene are Doug Hsieh of New York City and Rich Pavlicek Jr. of Fort Lauderdale, Fla. Watch their defense on this deal from the recent Summer North American Championships, held in Salt Lake City.

East DealsS Q 7 3WestNorthEastSouth
None VulH Q 8 41 H1 S
D K Q 10 52 H2 SPass4 S
C 10 6 2PassPassPass
S K 10 5TableS 6 4
H 9 7 5H A K 10 6 3
D J 9 8 7 6D 4 3 2
C K 5C A J 9
S A J 9 8 2
H J 2
4 S SouthC Q 8 7 4 3

South’s jump to four spades was, to put it mildly, aggressive. Even a trial bid of three clubs would have been a distinct stretch. He paid dearly for his folly.

Doug, West, led the nine of hearts. Since he had raised his partner’s suit, this showed specifically a three-card holding [without an honor]. Rich won the king and found the excellent shift to the jack of clubs. South’s queen lost to the king, and the club return allowed East to win two more tricks in the suit as West sluffed a heart.

Rich next cashed the ace of hearts and led a third round. Declarer guessed wrong when he ruffed with the nine. West overruffed with the 10 and still had to score the king of trumps for down four.

The best East-West could do at a heart contract was eight tricks, or nine if the defense erred grievously. Thus, the 200 points earned for beating the contract four tricks was a clear top for the teen-age stars. We wish some of our partners could defend this well today!

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© 1988 Charles Goren and Omar Sharif