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1959's king of swing

Jan. 04, 1960
Jan. 04, 1960

Table of Contents
Jan. 4, 1960

Best You Ever Saw
Sportsman Of The Year
Wonderful World Of Sport
Events & Discoveries

1959's king of swing

Sometime when Univac has a few minutes to spare, it might be possible to discover how many bridge deals are played in the course of a single year. With some 35 million players in this country alone, many playing several times each week, I am sure the number would be staggering, so huge that one should be chary of claiming that any hand was the most remarkable of the year.

This is an article from the Jan. 4, 1960 issue Original Layout

However, here is one that, if not the most remarkable, surely was the biggest swing hand in a national tournament during the past 12 months. It produced 2,980 points for the team captained by Sidney Silodor of Philadelphia against the team led by Ben Fain of Houston. The deal must also have carried the biggest swing in tricks won and lost.

In team-of-four play, as you know, the same hands are played in two rooms. In one, team A will hold the North-South cards; in the other, their teammates will hold the East-West cards. Thus, when the hand has been played in both rooms, each team of four will have held the stronger pair of hands. Only, in this case it was hard to decide which hands were the stronger.

With the Silodor team playing North-South, and the bidding as shown, the excitement was over as soon as the auction ended. West's ace of diamonds was the only trick his side could win. There was no way to prevent declarer from winning 12 and scoring 1,210 points (500 for the slam bonus, 300 for the game, 360 for the trick score and 50 for fulfilling a doubled contract).

In the other room, Silodor's team (one of the four which will represent the U.S. in the World Bridge Olympiad next April) was playing East-West, and the excitement lasted considerably longer. The bidding:

WEST

1 [Diamond]
3 [Spade]
7 [Heart]
PASS

NORTH

2 [Diamond]
6 [Spade]
PASS
PASS

EAST

2 [Heart]
PASS
PASS
PASS

SOUTH

2 [Spade]
PASS
DOUBLE

In case you are wondering why South doubled when North held all the high cards for his side, it was because he (South) read his partner's pass to seven hearts as forcing—that is, requiring him to bid seven spades or double. Since South couldn't see any real hope of making seven spades, he chose the latter course.

Then he also had to choose the opening lead, and here the earlier cue bids led him astray. West had cued the spades, suggesting no loser in that suit. North had cued the diamonds, suggesting that he was void or held the ace in that department. However nothing but a spade opening could set the grand slam, and South decided in favor of a diamond. East then had no difficulty in taking all the tricks. After drawing trumps, he was able to discard both his losing spades on West's long diamonds. Bidding and making the grand slam, doubled, was worth 1,770 points and brought the total gain for the Silodor team on this single hand to 2,980 points.

Impressive as that sounds, perhaps the real swing is better expressed in the number of tricks won. In this one deal the Silodor team took 25 tricks!

EXTRA TRICK
There is no straight and narrow path for the correct bidding of potential swing hands. With the inferior suit, hearts, West's slower approach via the three-spade bid at the second table has much to recommend it. Even more commendable was his bid of seven hearts. Aside from the possibility of making that contract, it was safer to bid it than to risk the enemy's making six spades. The best rule for such freaks: when in doubt, buy the contract.

PHOTO

Neither side vulnerable West dealer

NORTH

[Ace of Spades]
[Queen of Spades]
[9 of Spades]
[4 of Spades]
[10 of Diamonds]
[Ace of Clubs]
[King of Clubs]
[Jack of Clubs]
[9 of Clubs]
[8 of Clubs]
[6 of Clubs]
[4 of Clubs]
[3 of Clubs]

WEST

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

SOUTH

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

EAST

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

WEST

1 [Diamond]
6 [Heart]
DOUBLE

NORTH

2 [Club]
6 [Spade]
PASS

EAST

2 [Heart]
PASS
PASS

SOUTH

2 [Spade]
PASS
PASS

Opening lead: diamond ace