A Defense for Collegians

March 17, 1958

Last week some 150 American colleges and universities concluded their 1958 Intercollegiate Bridge Championship—one of the annual competitions in the three Bs (bowling and billiards are the others) sponsored by the Association of College Unions. The problem—how to let each college compete with all the others scattered throughout the United States without leaving its own campus—is solved by the device of having them play "par" hands.

Unlike the usual bridge tournament, where the deck is shuffled and dealt at random the first time each hand is played, the intercollegiate decks are stacked. Thus, all over the country, the collegians are able to play the same 16 hands, which have been prearranged by Tournament Director Geoffrey Mott-Smith to include some predetermined point of bidding or play. Some weeks hence, after judging the score cards sent to him by mail, he will decide the various title winners.

While the collegians are waiting to know who won the laurels (captured last year by Cornell's Paul Trent and Frank Goldring at North-South; Oberlin's Danny Klein-man and Dick Recht at East-West), let's look over one of the more spectacular deals which the undergrads and coeds had to tackle this year:

Dealer South East-West vulnerable

NORTH

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

WEST

[3 of Spades]
[2 of Spades]
[Jack of Hearts]
[10 of Hearts]
[9 of Hearts]
[5 of Hearts]
[2 of Hearts]
[9 of Clubs]
[8 of Clubs]
[6 of Clubs]
[Ace of Diamonds]
[Jack of Diamonds]
[7 of Diamonds]

SOUTH

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

EAST

[6 of Spades]
[4 of Spades]
[Ace of Hearts]
[King of Hearts]
[8 of Hearts]
[4 of Hearts]
[King of Clubs]
[5 of Clubs]
[2 of Clubs]
[8 of Diamonds]
[5 of Diamonds]
[4 of Diamonds]
[3 of Diamonds]

The North-South hands offer clear-cut values for a bid of four spades, and might properly get there on this bidding:

SOUTH

1 [Spade]
2 [Spade]
3 NO TRUMP
PASS

WEST

PASS
PASS
PASS
PASS

NORTH

2 [Club]
3 [Spade]
4 [Spade]

EAST

PASS
PASS
PASS

West's normal opening lead is the jack of hearts, and when East wins the trick the defenders' problem becomes one of, "Button, button, who's gotta have the buttons?"

Dummy's visible singleton having put the chill on East's hopes of a second heart trick, it is apparent to East that, in addition to his own king of clubs, the defenders will have to find two other tricks. There can be little doubt that the prospecting for these tricks must be done in the diamond department, so East shifts to a diamond.

In order to tell partner that he cannot count on a high card in East's hand to contribute toward building up a trick in the suit, East should lead the diamond 8, proclaiming this card as the top of nothing! Then, though South may play a deceitful king, West should read the situation correctly and do his part in the game of button-button by letting South hold the trick.

This is the crucial play. If West takes the first diamond trick, he cannot continue the suit without nullifying the power of his jack. Any other return gives declarer time to establish the clubs. But West must see that the game can't be defeated unless his partner can win a trick, and if he keeps the ace-jack behind declarer's queen, South has no answering coup. The club finesse must be lost to East's king, and a second diamond lead earns a fine par result for those collegians who mount this brilliant defense.

Extra Tricks: "Par" type games have become very popular in Europe. Sometimes the problems are especially difficult; usually they are also unusual. Those confronting the collegians are less trying. If you would like to play them yourself, in your own game, address a post card request for Intercollegiate Bridge hands to Playing Card Association, P.O. Box 54A, Mt. Vernon 10, N.Y. They will be sent to you without charge.

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)