Chicago supplanted Los Angeles as the Bridge Capital of North America this month, capturing the SPORTS ILLUSTRATED trophy in what was probably the most exciting intercity match yet played in the series. Los Angeles presented Nonplaying Captain Erik Paulsen with a powerful team: Lew Mathe and Robert Hamman; Ivan Erdos and Kelsey Petterson; and Don Krauss and Eddie Kantar.

Chicago, captained by Emanuel Hochfeld, had two former internationalists in William Rosen and Northwestern University Professor Ivar Stakgold. The other stars were less widely experienced: Danny Rotman, Alan Press, Paul Sugar, Burt Norton—a recently converted rubber-bridge player—and the only woman in the event, Gloria Turner.

It was a noisy, partisan and often standing-room-only crowd in the State Ballroom in Chicago's Palmer House, cheering every favorable swing, groaning whenever fortune seemed to favor Los Angeles. The enthusiasts had a chance to do both on the next-to-last board. Chicago was leading when, from the closed room, came apparent disaster (left).

South opened the jack of spades. After North had taken two spade tricks he gave South a spade ruff. North regained the lead with the heart ace to lead another spade for South to ruff, and declarer still had to lose the ace of trumps. The posted score was minus 1,100 for Chicago.

My panel of commentators speculated on what might have happened had Los Angeles been allowed to play four hearts. We soon found out in the open room.

NORTH
(Press)

1 [Club]
DOUBLE
PASS

EAST
(Mathe)

3 [Diamond]
PASS
PASS

SOUTH
(Rosen)

PASS
4 [Heart]
PASS

WEST
(Hamman)

3 N.T.
DOUBLE

Billy Rosen, whom I would have to select as the star performer of the Chicago team, felt that his hand was too weak to stand for the double of three no trump, although that contract could have been defeated with a club opening or a club shift. But Rosen did far better by bringing home his doubled four-heart contract. The play was a triumph of counting out the opponents' hands.

Hamman opened the king of diamonds. Dummy's ace won, and Rosen played ace and another heart. This proved indiscreet when West was able to win the heart trick and pull a third round of trumps, leaving one too few trumps in dummy to ruff both of South's losing diamonds.

West continued by leading the two of spades. The audience held its collective breath while Rosen considered letting this lead ride to his jack. Eventually he played dummy's ace and led a club to his king. West took the ace and continued spades. Dummy won, and South discarded a diamond. South came to his hand with a spade ruff and achieved a perfect count of East's hand. West could hold only two diamonds, else he would have opened a low one instead of the king. East had followed to four spades and one heart. Seven diamonds accounted for the rest of his cards with the exception of the club he had already played.

Rosen, therefore, led the 7 of clubs, and when West did not cover, Rosen let it ride. This deep finesse brought home the contract for a score of 790 and reduced the Los Angeles gain to 7 IMPS. Chicago went on to win 171 to 161.

ILLUSTRATION

Both sides vulnerable North dealer

NORTH

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

WEST

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

SOUTH

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

EAST

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

NORTH
(Kantar)

1 [Club]
PASS
DOUBLE
4 [Heart]
DOUBLE

EAST
(Sugar)

PASS
2 [Diamond]
3 [Diamond]
5 [Diamond]
PASS

SOUTH
(Krauss)

PASS
PASS
3 [Heart]
PASS
PASS

WEST
(Norton)

1 N.T.
PASS
PASS
PASS
PASS

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)