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The sound of bidding

June 05, 1961
June 05, 1961

Table of Contents
June 5, 1961

Cover
Clubhouse Of Catchers
Tangle In Philly
Finley
Hunt Meetings
Baseball
Boxing
Conservation
Baseball's Week
Acknowledgments
19th Hole: The Readers Take Over
Pat On The Back

The sound of bidding

It is possible that the 10th World Bridge Championship might have ended differently if my good friend Dr. Pierre Jaïs had been in Buenos Aires with the French team. Playing with five players instead of six, France was severely handicapped. The handicap was the more serious since the missing man was Jaïs, one of her strongest players.

This is an article from the June 5, 1961 issue Original Layout

Ja√Øs, a man of courage at and away from the bridge table, had resigned from the French Bridge Federation (automatically banishing himself from the team) in protest against what he considered an injustice. Two well-known French players, Henri Svarc and Jean-Michel Boulanger, accused Gérard Bourchtoff and Claude Delmouly, two of Ja√Øs' teammates, of cheating. The charges (that they had employed "l'ascenseur" [elevator]—a method of signaling by the height at which the hand is held) were not proved, but the accusers were punished along with the accused for having delayed reporting the incident for several months. Dr. Ja√Øs felt that the Federation had gone too far.

Another example of Jaïs'courage appears in the book he wrote in collaboration with the late Pierre Albarran. In that book (How to Win at Rubber Bridge, recently adapted for English readers by the English expert, Terence Reese), Jaïs has written a chapter which dares to discuss the subject of hesitations.

There are times when every bridge player must pause to think. Whether intentional or not, such pauses convey information. When this happens, partner must be sure that his bidding does not take advantage of information deduced from a change of pace or tone of voice. He must judge his action only by the meaning that partner's bid would convey if he read it in a diagramed account of what took place.

The sharp-witted playwright George Kaufman once made it obvious what he thought of such maneuvering when he asked, "May I have a review of the bidding—with the original rhythm and inflections?" Some such review is required after you have read the bidding of the deal that Ja√Øs cites as one occasion when unethical bidding recoiled against its authors.

Observe that South, with but one diamond in his hand, had passed partner's double of that suit, whereas he had failed to leave in partner's double of two hearts—a suit in which he held twice as many cards. The explanation is that North had doubled two diamonds with speed and gusto but had later doubled two hearts only after a considerable hesitation. The cards South held were proof per se that he had acted unethically. As it turned out, had he done the honest thing and passed, West would have been set 500 points. North would have opened the heart queen and, by continuing trumps each time he got the lead, could have prevented dummy from ruffing a diamond. West would have made three heart tricks, a club by leading up to his hand, and almost certainly another trick or two somewhere along the line. Instead, South went down 500 in three spades doubled when the opponents collected two hearts, one club and three trump tricks.

It is beside the point, perhaps, but if South had timed his play as well as he timed his partner's bidding, he could have saved a trick. That he did not may be attributed to the fact that South was so busy scheming he could not devote enough time to studying the hand properly.

EXTRA TRICK
The best way to stop unethical hesitations is by taking advantage of them only when you are the opponent. The deliberate offender is bound to stop when he realizes that he who hesitates must lose.

ILLUSTRATION

Both sides vulnerable South dealer

NORTH

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

WEST

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

SOUTH

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

EAST

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

SOUTH

1 [Spade]
PASS
3 [Club]
PASS

WEST

2 [Diamond]
2 [Heart]
DOUBLE
PASS

NORTH

DOUBLE
DOUBLE
3 [Spade]
PASS

EAST

PASS
PASS
DOUBLE

Opening lead: ace of hearts