Meet the team: HARRY FISHBEIN

January 05, 1959

This is the second of a series introducing the players who will participate in the World Bridge Championship in February.

The Dean of the contract bridge team that will represent the U.S. is colorful, popular Harry Fishbein.

A young-looking 61, Fishbein is the oldest man to represent the U.S. since this World Championship competition began. But, as the only player on the team whose full-time vocation is bridge (he runs New York's Mayfair Bridge Club), Harry plays two sessions of bridge every day and is rarely off top form.

The following deal from a recent rubber game shows him at his brilliant best. Study the bidding and only West's hand and decide what you would lead.

Everything about Fishbein has made him a popular favorite with the gallery—and a big one is expected when the World Championship matches are shown to spectators via a new electric board now being built by the American Contract Bridge League, plus a "fishbowl" soundproof booth which will let the audience watch, hear and cheer without disturbing the players.

He plays quickly, seldom huddling and never going into long trances. He is an individualist in his style of play as in his occasionally wondrous maltreatment of the king's English. He is also what his fellow experts term a "position-taker." He makes up his mind about situations with an inspiration based on long experience, sometimes bidding with ultraconservatism and sometimes with unorthodox boldness.

Fishbein's lead against this six-spade contract was typical of his daring and brilliance. Either the queen of hearts or the jack of diamonds seemed safe and sound. But Fishbein led the 8 of clubs away from his king!

It was a lead that could lose only if South held the ace of clubs—which didn't appear likely from the bidding. Its purpose was to force declarer to decide on his play of the clubs before he learned about the bad break in trumps.

Put yourself in declarer's shoes. Assuming any reasonable trump break, he could afford to lose a club trick. But he could not afford to lose a finesse in clubs and risk a ruff of the club return if West had led a singleton. So he made the "safe" play. He won the opening lead with dummy's club ace. Then he led a trump and got the bad news.

With any other lead, a declarer would have made his slam. A heart or a diamond would have given him time to test out the trumps. As soon as it was apparent that he had to lose a trump trick, he would have no choice but to take the club finesse and, when it succeeded, that would have been that.

The beauty of this hand—and one reason why Fishbein is such a crowd-pleaser—is that he turned what might have been a routine hand into an exciting one. It remains to be seen whether our opponents in the World Championship will be able to withstand the excitement.

EXTRA TRICK
Whenever you are on lead, don't automatically make the lead that seems indicated by the cards in your own hand. Make use of the information available from the opponents' bidding; play to mislead the declarer before he can get too much information about a bad break.

PHOTO

North-South vulnerable South dealer

NORTH

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

WEST

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

SOUTH

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

EAST

[7 of Hearts]
[6 of Hearts]
[3 of Hearts]
[2 of Hearts]
[10 of Clubs]
[9 of Clubs]
[2 of Clubs]
[Queen of Diamonds]
[7 of Diamonds]
[6 of Diamonds]
[4 of Diamonds]
[3 of Diamonds]
[2 of Diamonds]

SOUTH

1 [Spade]
3 [Spade]
4 [Diamond]
4 NO TRUMP
5 NO TRUMP
6 [Spade]

WEST

PASS
PASS
PASS
PASS
PASS
PASS

NORTH

2 [Club]
4 [Club]
4 [Spade]
5 [Diamond]
6 [Diamond]
PASS

EAST

PASS
PASS
PASS
PASS
PASS
PASS

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)