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Beaten with their own clubs

April 25, 1960
April 25, 1960

Table of Contents
April 25, 1960

Editorial
Powerboat
Giants' New Home
The Shotput
Design Awards
Very Old And Quite British
Spectacle
Hockey
Food
Horse Racing
Acknowledgments
19th Hole: The Readers Take Over
Pat On The Back

Beaten with their own clubs

The huge turnout of bridge experts that swarmed over hospitable Jackson, Miss, last month had dwindled to six teams in the 11th and final day of play for the Vanderbilt Trophy and the National Contract Bridge Team championship. Then came an astonishing hand.

This is an article from the April 25, 1960 issue Original Layout

It was a deal on which North and South had a lay-down grand slam at clubs. Yet no player on either of two of America's finest teams ever mentioned the suit. According to some modern bidding styles, the hand—with 13 points, including the three for a void in spades-qualified only as an optional bid. But the holders of the hand soon discovered that it is dangerous not to exercise the option. Once both players sitting North had passed, neither was able to recover. They never did find a chance to bid the club suit.

East's weak two-spade opener stole the bidding. So, having passed originally, North, Russ Arnold of Miami, playing with Mrs. Kemp on the von Zedtwitz team, found himself in a spot where he would have to go past three no trump in order to show his clubs at all. Even if I could have seen three no trump as a sound bid in this round—and I am fairly certain that I could not have—I would have bid five clubs later. But I would not have waited so long to show my clubs; I would have opened with one club at my first turn.

After winning her ace of hearts, Mrs. Kemp put her partner in with the ace of diamonds. A heart return for South to ruff would have defeated the four-spade bid one trick. But North continued diamonds, East trumped, and the king of trumps was the only other trick the defenders took. Four spades was made for a score of 790—but that was hardly North-South's biggest loss. Analyzing their hands, they saw that seven clubs was a laydown for a score of 2,140. So, depending on events at the other table, the von Zedtwitz team might lose nearly 3,000 points.

At the other table, the opposing team, now holding the same fateful clubs—and 13 points—had an equal, if totally different, disaster, because it passed the perfectly sound opening club bid. The bidding went:

WEST
(von Zedtwitz)

PASS
4 [Heart]
DBL

NORTH
(Christian)

PASS
6 [Diamond]
PASS

EAST
(Weiss)

2 [Spade]
PASS
PASS

SOUTH
(Gabrilovitch)

3 [Diamond]
PASS
PASS

Opening lead: heart king

Declarer's ace won the first trick. He then made a great play for his contract. He led the diamond 9 and when West covered with the 10 he ducked the trick! West led the queen of hearts. Declarer ruffed, trumped a spade in dummy and cashed the diamond ace. Next he led a club, fully expecting to win the trick. He then could have pulled trumps.

Had West held a single club, the contract would be home. But West trumped, put partner in with a spade and ruffed another club lead for down three, a penalty of 800, exactly equal in team-of-four scoring to the 790 minus at the other table.

EXTRA TRICK
When an optional opening (13 points) affords a comfortable rebid, exercise your option and bid.

PHOTO

Both sides vulnerable West dealer

NORTH

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

WEST

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

SOUTH

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

EAST

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

WEST
(Michaels)

PASS
3 [Spade]
4 [Spade]
PASS

NORTH
(Arnold)

PASS
3 N.T.
PASS
PASS

EAST
(Hoadley)

2 [Spade]
PASS
PASS
PASS

SOUTH
(Mrs. Kemp)

2 N.T.
PASS
DBL

Opening lead: heart ace