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'I'd like some more'

Sept. 07, 1959
Sept. 07, 1959

Table of Contents
Sept. 7, 1959

Cover
Coming Events
Olmedo The Enigma
Spectacle
  • The sea's soft edge belongs to the young, and the only way they lose their place in that shining, protean realm between the tides is by growing up

Events & Discoveries
Admiral Gallery
Food
Horse Racing
19th Hole: The Readers Take Over
Pat On The Back

'I'd like some more'

My forthcoming trip to Palermo—where early in September committee members of the World Bridge Federation will discuss arrangements for next spring's World Bridge Olympiad—reminds me of an exciting hand I watched on my last European visit.

This is an article from the Sept. 7, 1959 issue

The occasion was the European championship at Oslo, when Italy won for the third successive year. The thumpings our American teams have absorbed from Italy during these years may have blinded us to the fact that Europe boasts at least two other powerful teams. In the last European championship both Great Britain and France put up such staunch fights that they were barely edged out by Italy.

It is perhaps significant that the British style is the very antithesis of the highly artificial methods used by Europe's current champions. In the deal of which I speak, Britain was dumped by one convention and saved by the disregard of another.

In the room where Great Britain held the North-South cards Alan Truscott, in fourth position, opened the North hand with three no trump. Many British players use this opening bid as a strategic gamble with a hand that includes a long, solid minor suit. Without quarreling with this general strategy, we are not inclined to recommend it on this North holding. Though partner has passed, the hand has great potentialities for slam if partner is offered an opportunity to participate in the discussion. In fact, when the Italians held the hand in the other room...but of that, more anon.

It may be argued that Mr. Truscott was the victim of an unkind fate, not because diamonds were led—that was almost inevitable—but because the East and West holdings were not reversed. Had East held West's six-card suit, the normal lead of the diamond jack would have given declarer enough tricks to leave several over for the next deal. But East was on lead. He led the 4 of diamonds. West's ace dropped North's king, the defenders ran six tricks and Britain went off 200 points.

It was a fortunate thing for the British in the other room that they were not using (or rather abusing) the set of signals known as the suit-preference convention, enslavement to, or rather a misunderstanding of, which has cost its users a great many points. In that other room, by their customarily devious but devilishly accurate methods, the Italians arrived at their proper slam—in spades.

West opened the ace of diamonds, and East signaled with the 9. There is a certain group of convention mongers who would read this as a suit-preference signal, but I do not subscribe to that doctrine. The suit-preference convention, providing that the play of a high card calls for a shift to the higher-ranking side suit, applies only when it is clearly indicated that a shift is called for. There are many times when third hand wishes his partner to continue the suit he has opened, and the natural way to effect that is by the play of a high card. In some cases, it will be plain that third hand cannot desire a continuation, and then his discard will direct the shift.

In this case the defenders had a perfect understanding. East's play of the diamond 9 called for more of the same suit, and when the 7 of spades was used to ruff the diamond continuation, East was assured of a trump trick to beat the slam.

Collecting their 100-point penalty halved the British net loss on this deal. Had the British players been suit-preference fanatics, West would have shifted to hearts, which would have presented Italy with the slam.

EXTRA TRICK
The most successful conventions are the simple ones. Below "top expert" circles it is enough, when partner leads a suit, to have your low card say "Stop" and your high card shout "I'd like some more."

PHOTO

Both sides vulnerable East dealer

NORTH

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

WEST

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

SOUTH

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

EAST

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