Anyone can win the Cadillac

At the Fall Nationals in Detroit they have some all-comers events that sound enticing
December 01, 1958

Bridge is perhapsthe only sport in which spectators are admitted free while the competitors payto play. Furthermore, the prizes are cups of nominal value and master points ofno purchasing power. The American Contract Bridge League frowns upontournaments at which cash or high-value prizes are offered.

Nevertheless,every day of the Fall National championships now under way in Detroit, fourplayers will be able to boast: "I won the Cadillac." Or the Dodge. Orone of 15 other cars. However, winning the Dodge won't mean driving it. It'sjust that, since the tournament is being played in the Motor City, it wasdeemed appropriate to name each of the "side games" after anautomobile.

A side game is aone-session pairs competition. Although it carries no official title, victoryin such an open game at a national tournament brings an ample award of masterpoints. There's a side game each afternoon and evening of the championshipmeet, open to any player who cares to put up the $2.50 entrance fee. Oftenthese side games are the means by which young players first win theirtournament spurs. Not that these events are easy to win. Invariably, the hugeentry list bristles with names of stars practicing new partnerships or justtaking a busman's holiday if they happen to have a session off from the mainevents.

However, the bigguns will have their sights trained on the national titles, and most of themwould rather win a cup than a car. This is especially true of Leonard Harmon ofNew York and Alan Bell of Chicago—one-two entering the homestretch in the raceto win the McKenney trophy, awarded to the player with the best tournamentrecord each year. Although Harmon has a lead of nearly 100 master points,victory in one big event could make up Bell's deficit. The Life Masters'Individual, for example, carries an award of 125 master points. Edgar Kaplan,who won it last year, also captured the McKenney trophy.

Most of lastyear's champions are on hand to defend their laurels. My team, however, whichalso includes Helen Sobel, Howard Schenken and Harold Ogust, is defending theOpen Team championship minus the services of Bill Root whose commitments willnot permit him to get to Detroit. We are fortunate in getting Lew Mathe of LosAngeles—the man with the best individual record in the Fall Nationals lastyear—to take Bill's place, for Bill's fine play contributed heavily to ourvictory.

Here, for example,is one of his winning hands.

Both the biddingand the play of this hand illustrate the difference between board-a-matchscoring used in the Fall Nationals and the total point or International MatchPoint scoring used in both the spring and summer national team championships.In board-a-match the only thing that counts is the difference in the pointscore of opposing teams on each deal. It doesn't matter how great thedifference is; on every deal you win, lose or halve a match. Thus, with honorsin her short suits, Mrs. Sobel did not mention her six-card major but gambledthat the hand would produce as many tricks at no trump as at hearts.

If South had helda small spade along with his king-queen, this gamble would surely pay off. Butwhen two rounds of spades knocked out Bill's only stopper, he could see that afour-heart contract was bound to produce a better score than three no trumpunless the heart suit failed to break and declarer at the other table failed totake a finesse.

On this reasoning,South cashed the ace of hearts and finessed for the queen on the second round.Later, when the club finesse worked and the 10 dropped, South wound up makingfour-odd for a score of 430 (i.e., 130 for four no trump, plus 300 for anonvulnerable game) while the opponents, following the normal play for fourhearts at the other table, played to drop the queen of hearts and made onlyfour-odd for a score of 420.

The Women's Teamchampionship last year went to Peggy Solomon and Marie Cohn of Philadelphia,who proved Kipling wrong when they teamed up with a western pair, Stella Rebnerof Hollywood and Mary Jane Farell of Los Angeles. This was one of their winninghands:

East-Westvulnerable South dealer

NORTH

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

WEST

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

SOUTH

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

EAST

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

SOUTH
(Mrs. Solomon)

1 [Heart]
4 [Heart]

WEST

1 [Spade]
PASS

NORTH
(Mrs. Cohn)

2 [Heart]
PASS

EAST

2 [Spade]
PASS

Opening lead:spade king

Peggy Solomon saidof the bidding, "We were playing light competitive raises, so if there isany blame to be placed for getting to four hearts, it's mine."

Momentarily, Peggyconsidered playing a low trump toward the board, hoping that West would haveking-small and go up with the king. She vetoed that because it meant not onlyfinding the desired distribution but having West make a mistake.

Instead, she wonthe ace of spades and ran off four good clubs, discarding dummy's last spade.No matter who ruffed the last club, Peggy would save a trump trick for, if Westtrumped with the 5, as soon as trumps were led the ace and king would falltogether. South lost only one diamond and two trumps.

Most winnersdefend their titles, even if it requires crossing the country to do so. Somecan't, however, for the reason that they are no longer eligible. The Kemtrophy, for example, has never been successfully defended, probably because the30 master points which victory brings usually put the winners over the 49maximum with which a player is eligible to enter this event. Similarly, WalterWallace's victory in the '57 Open Individual made him eligible to play in thisyear's Life Masters. This was one of the dynamite deals that helped him achievethat goal:

East-Westvulnerable South dealer

NORTH

[10 of Spades]
[9 of Spades]
[8 of Spades]
[7 of Spades]
[5 of Spades]
[3 of Spades]
[Jack of Hearts]
[8 of Hearts]
[4 of Hearts]
[Ace of Diamonds]
[Jack of Diamonds]
[9 of Diamonds]
[5 of Diamonds]
— [Club]

WEST

[Ace of Spades]
[King of Spades]
[Queen of Spades]
[Jack of Spades]
[Ace of Hearts]
[King of Hearts]
[Queen of Hearts]
[7 of Hearts]
[4 of Diamonds]
[Ace of Clubs]
[King of Clubs]
[Queen of Clubs]
[10 of Clubs]

SOUTH

— [Spade]
— [Heart]
[King of Diamonds]
[Queen of Diamonds]
[10 of Diamonds]
[8 of Diamonds]
[7 of Diamonds]
[6 of Diamonds]
[3 of Diamonds]
[2 of Diamonds]
[Jack of Clubs]
[9 of Clubs]
[8 of Clubs]
[6 of Clubs]
[2 of Clubs]

EAST

[6 of Spades]
[4 of Spades]
[2 of Spades]
[10 of Hearts]
[9 of Hearts]
[6 of Hearts]
[5 of Hearts]
[3 of Hearts]
[2 of Hearts]
— [Diamond]
[7 of Clubs]
[5 of Clubs]
[4 of Clubs]
[3 of Clubs]

The bidding wasbrief:

SOUTH

5 [Diamond]
PASS

WEST

DOUBLE

NORTH

PASS

EAST

PASS

West was furiousthat the five-diamond bid had stolen his big hand, but he envisioned areasonable penalty. He opened a king, and he is still waiting to take a trick.Dummy ruffed all of declarer's losing clubs, and South made a grand slam.

The strange partof this deal is not what actually happened but what might have. Suppose Easthad "rescued" the double to five hearts. Suppose West had then bid sixhearts. North should prepare to set seven hearts, while getting ready to saveat seven diamonds. He should make a cue-bid of seven clubs. Now, if theopponents bid seven hearts a club lead will set them. And if they double sevendiamonds, West can beat it only by opening his singleton trump.

Of course, it isthe correct lead—but even in national championships the correct lead isn'talways made. And so I'll no doubt be telling you when I report what happens inDetroit in the near future.

East-West vulnerable South dealer

NORTH

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

WEST

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

SOUTH

[King of Spades]
[Queen of Spades]
[Ace of Hearts]
[7 of Hearts]
[3 of Hearts]
[Ace of Clubs]
[7 of Clubs]
[6 of Clubs]
[5 of Clubs]
[3 of Clubs]
[King of Diamonds]
[Queen of Diamonds]
[4 of Diamonds]

EAST

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

SOUTH
(Root)

1 NO TRUMP
PASS

WEST

PASS
PASS

NORTH
(Mrs. Sobel)

3 NO TRUMP

EAST

PASS

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)