A Dashing Little Slam

March 03, 1958

By the time you read this account, a team made up of members of the Regency Club of New York will be participating in an international bridge tournament at the invitation of the Uruguay Bridge League, at Punta del'Este. They are Wingate Bixby, president; Peter Levintritt and Boris Koytchou, who have been partners of mine in international matches; Constantin Plotsis, a celebrated flying ace with the Greek forces during World War II, and myself. In preparation for my part in this function I recalled a game in which I played several years ago that indelibly impressed on me the dashing demeanor of our South American cousins—at the bridge table as elsewhere. Here is exhibit A:

North-South vulnerable South dealer

NORTH

[Ace of Hearts]
[Queen of Hearts]
[10 of Hearts]
[7 of Hearts]
[6 of Hearts]
[2 of Hearts]
[Ace of Clubs]
[King of Clubs]
[7 of Clubs]
[6 of Clubs]
[3 of Clubs]
[2 of Clubs]
[3 of Diamonds]

WEST

[9 of Spades]
[7 of Spades]
[5 of Spades]
[3 of Spades]
[King of Hearts]
[Jack of Hearts]
[8 of Hearts]
[Jack of Clubs]
[9 of Clubs]
[Queen of Diamonds]
[9 of Diamonds]
[8 of Diamonds]
[6 of Diamonds]

SOUTH

[Ace of Spades]
[Queen of Spades]
[Jack of Spades]
[8 of Spades]
[9 of Hearts]
[5 of Hearts]
[10 of Clubs]
[8 of Clubs]
[4 of Clubs]
[King of Diamonds]
[10 of Diamonds]
[7 of Diamonds]
[2 of Diamonds]

EAST

[King of Spades]
[10 of Spades]
[6 of Spades]
[4 of Spades]
[2 of Spades]
[4 of Hearts]
[3 of Hearts]
[Queen of Clubs]
[5 of Clubs]
[Ace of Diamonds]
[Jack of Diamonds]
[5 of Diamonds]
[4 of Diamonds]

SOUTH

PASS
1 NO TRUMP
3 NO TRUMP
5 NO TRUMP
6 NO TRUMP

WEST

PASS
PASS
PASS
PASS
PASS

NORTH

1 [Club]
3 [Heart]
5 [Heart]
6 [Club]
PASS

EAST

1 [Spade]
PASS
PASS
PASS
PASS

The bidding diagram may serve as a guide to the reader if it is his purpose to draw a character sketch of the gladiator occupying the South position. We will quell any notions you have that the typesetter has gotten the house into a state of disorder. I can offer my personal testimony as to accuracy of this report. I was there and viewed the entire incident from the West position.

The opening bid of one club is somewhat irregular. A bid of one heart would have been the choice of those both in and out of the know. Experienced players holding hands that are rich in high cards will frequently open with one club where they fear that partner might find it difficult to respond to a bid of one heart or one spade. But in this hand there is no basis for such apprehension, for North has only 13 points in high cards and it is inconceivable that the hand would be passed out at one heart.

South—the dashing Gaucho referred to above—had no trump sharply imprinted on his mind and his se√±orita's plaintive calls went unheeded. It appeared that our bouncing boy was prepared for a spade lead, so I selected the 6 of diamonds for my opening. My partner, one of our leading female bridge stars, Mrs. Margaret Wager of Atlanta, won with the ace and returned the 4. Declarer took the king and successfully finessed the 10 of hearts. He then cashed the ace and king of clubs. The cards rudely ignored probabilities and broke 2-2. This provided him with an entry to his hand in the form of the 10 of clubs, which permitted him to take another heart finesse and claim the rest of the tricks when the suit broke. All this took less time than it is taking me to relate the story.

In the interests of inter-American relations, but with a sizable lump in my throat, I congratulated the gentleman, who accepted the plaudits graciously but with an "I-never-was-nervous-for-a-minute" expression on his face. "I am sorry, partner," spoke up Mrs. Wager. "I could have beaten the contract." Quite convinced that she was jesting, I did not pursue the subject; but when we left the table she pointed out that if she had returned a club at trick two, declarer would have had only one entry to his hand and would have been unable to take two heart finesses. "Oh yes," I acceded, "why didn't you?"

PHOTO

HOLE YARDS PAR R1 R2 R3 R4
OUT
HOLE YARDS PAR R1 R2 R3 R4
IN
Eagle (-2)
Birdie (-1)
Bogey (+1)
Double Bogey (+2)