Two youths who refused to be conned

December 02, 1963

The U.S. will have two fine teams for the 1964 World Bridge Olympiad, although the results of the recent International Trials in Miami Beach must be considered in the nature of an upset. Nobody seriously believed, for example, that the youngest pair in the Open field had a chance to make the team. Yet Robert Hamman of Van Nuys, Calif. and Don Krauss of Los Angeles took the lead in the very first day's session and held it throughout, placing first in the Trials with a score of 586 out of a possible 900. Sam Stayman and Victor Mitchell of New York, who finished second with 548, are veterans of international competition, and Robert Jordan and Arthur Robinson of Philadelphia, third with 540, were generally considered to be our most consistent performers in the 1963 world championship play in St. Vincent, Italy. Howard Schenken and Peter Leventritt, also teammates in St. Vincent, could do no better than 11th. Bobby Nail and Jim Jacoby, who won the Trials the previous year, finished dead last, more than 100 points behind the team in 15th place. That pair was Alvin Roth and Billy Seamon, who starred on the team that won both major U.S. titles, the Vanderbilt and the Spingold.

On the deal shown below at left, Hamman and Krauss proved they were no babes in arms when they refused to be conned by the wiles of veterans Edward Taylor and Lew Mathe, who finished fourth and qualified as alternates to the team.

Taylor exhibited cast-iron nerve in passing—especially over the three-heart bid, which wasn't forcing—until the opponents had reached game. Then his four-spade bid sounded as though he were trying to find a save. But Krauss showed excellent judgment in persevering to five clubs, diagnosing Taylor's strategy. Rather than accept the penalty at five clubs, Taylor continued to five spades and was defeated when West did not attempt to cash a second club but instead shifted to hearts, permitting the defense to cash two heart tricks.

Robinson and Jordan were on most of the pretournament selections to make the team. One of their outstanding triumphs was a bidding coup that gave Lew Mathe an unpleasant choice {see deal shown at right).

Taylor's first response in diamonds was a psychic effort to stop a diamond lead. Mathe and Taylor took their two red aces for a paltry 100-point set, while all over the field North-South were bidding and making six spades. But after Jordan's cue bid in clubs to clue the defense, six spades would have been defeated by two rounds of clubs, so North-South had little choice but to suffer their 100-point penalty, for no International Match Points.

The drama and tension of the Open Trials finish seemed like a rest cure compared to the Women's Team results. The outcome was an astonishing three-way tie for first place among Helen Portugal-Agnes Gordon, Jan Stone-Muriel Kaplan and, coming up from the pack in a strong last-round rally, Stella Rebner-Alicia Kempner. All had 373, exactly 1 point ahead of fourth-place finishers, Edith Kemp and her sister, Ann Burnstein, who will torment themselves for the next year recalling how they could have picked up that point on a hundred or more of the 224 hands they played during the exhausting six-day grind.

The Open Trials were even more strenuous. With 300 hands played, the spectators were as exhausted as the participants. But the captains should be well pleased. Frank Westcott of North Attle-boro, Mass. will lead the U.S. Open Team; Paul Hodge of Abilene, Texas will lead the ladies. The 28 nations who will come to New York in May for the World Bridge Olympiad are going to have their hands full.

ILLUSTRATION

Neither side vulnerable West dealer

NORTH

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

WEST

[5 of Spades]
[King of Hearts]
[7 of Hearts]
[5 of Hearts]
[4 of Hearts]
[7 of Diamonds]
[5 of Diamonds]
[Ace of Clubs]
[King of Clubs]
[10 of Clubs]
[9 of Clubs]
[5 of Clubs]
[3 of Clubs]

SOUTH

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

EAST

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

WEST
(Krauss)

1 [Club]
2 [Heart]
4 [Heart]
PASS
5 [Club]
PASS

NORTH
(Mathe)

1 [Diamond]
PASS
PASS
PASS
PASS
PASS

EAST
(Hamman)

1 [Heart]
3 [Heart]
PASS
DOUBLE
PASS
PASS

SOUTH
(Taylor)

PASS!
PASS!
4 [Spade]
PASS
5 [Spade]

Opening lead: king of clubs

Neither side vulnerable East dealer

NORTH

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

WEST

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

SOUTH

[Ace of Spades]
[King of Spades]
[Jack of Spades]
[10 of Spades]
[7 of Spades]
[6 of Spades]
[Jack of Hearts]
[Ace of Diamonds]
[10 of Clubs]
[8 of Clubs]
[7 of Clubs]
[4 of Clubs]
[2 of Clubs]

EAST

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

EAST
(Jordan)

PASS
2 [Spade]
PASS
PASS
6 [Club]
PASS

SOUTH
(Mathe)

1 [Spade]
3 [Spade]
4 [Spade]
5 [Spade]
DOUBLE
PASS

WEST
(Robinson)

PASS
4 [Club]
5 [Heart]
PASS
6 [Heart]
PASS

NORTH
(Taylor)

2 [Diamond]
4 [Heart]
PASS
PASS
DOUBLE

Opening lead: ace 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)