Youth will out

April 17, 1961

The U.S. bridge team, now in Buenos Aires for the 1961 world championship, may be the last all-veteran combination to represent us in international competition—even if it wins. Though formidable, the lineup of Sidney Silodor, Norman Kay (only player under 40), Howard Schenken, Peter Leventritt, John Gerber and Paul Hodge is not young. And the results of the Vanderbilt team event in the Spring National Championships at Denver last month strongly hinted that youth is about to be served. Only one veteran team (mine, with Schenken and Leventritt) got as far as the semifinals of that highly prized event. All three of the teams in the round-robin final presented youthful lineups.

The oldest player on the team that won is its 33-year-old captain, Robert Jordan: The youngest, 24, is his partner and fellow Philadelphian, Arthur Robinson. Together with Eric Murray of Toronto and Charles Coon of Boston they performed the iron-man stunt of fielding only a four-man team. But they had their off moments, and here is one of them.

This was the 12th deal of the final match between Jordan's team and the Californians, captained by Eddie Kantar, that took the runner-up spot by defeating the third finalist, another all-California squad, captained by Mike Shuman.

When the winning team held the East-West cards, the kibitzers witnessed the unusual spectacle of a proper sacrifice bid by a vulnerable side.

NORTH
(Marshall Miles)

PASS
1 [Heart]
3 [Spade]
PASS
DBL.

EAST
(Jordan)

PASS
2 [Diamond]
PASS
5 [Diamond]
PASS

SOUTH
(Kantar)

1 [Club]
2 [Spade]
4 [Spade]
PASS
PASS

WEST
(Robinson)

1 [Diamond]
PASS
PASS
PASS
PASS

Opening lead: 4 of spades

In addition to the first spade trick, West had to lose to the king of hearts and ace of clubs and was down one, minus 200 points.

The sacrifice bid was correct, I believe, in spite of what happened at the other table, where the bidding went:

NORTH
(Murray)

PASS
2 [Spade]
PASS
PASS
PASS

EAST
(Harold Guiver)

PASS
3 [Diamond]
PASS
DBL.

SOUTH
(Coon)

1 [Spade]
4 [Spade]
5 [Spade]
PASS

WEST
(Oliver Adams)

DBL.
5 [Diamond]
PASS
PASS

Opening lead: ace of diamonds

Declarer ruffed the diamond, pulled two rounds of trumps, then led a low heart and finessed the jack, losing to the queen. East returned the club jack. Declarer rose with the ace, made haste to extract East's last trump, and conceded a club and another heart trick for down one.

But the contract could have been made. After ruffing the diamond, South takes two top trumps and leads a low club toward dummy's queen. West's best defense is to win with the king and underlead the ace of hearts. But South should guess correctly and play dummy's king. After cashing the queen of clubs, declarer gets in with a trump and discards three of dummy's hearts on his good clubs.

Had the contract been made, the Jordan team would have gained 10 IMPs. Instead, it lost 7. But in the end, it played sound and steady bridge to take the trophy engraved with the most famous names in bridge—including that of the donor himself, Harold S. Vanderbilt.

ILLUSTRATION

East-West vulnerable North dealer

NORTH

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

WEST

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

SOUTH

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

EAST

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

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)