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Finding the Trials guilty

Nov. 22, 1965
Nov. 22, 1965

Table of Contents
Nov. 22, 1965

Rabbit Hunt
Too Hot
Worrying Way
Football's Week
  • With almost indecent haste, bowl promoters were in the winners' locker rooms, contracts in hand. The Orange Bowl signed up Nebraska—precluding any chance of a 'national championship' game should the Cornhuskers and Arkansas finish as the two top teams of the year—while the Sugar Bowl collected Missouri and the Gator Bowl Georgia Tech. Meanwhile 1965 continued to be a year of dazzling individuals (next pages), and none was brighter than Donny Anderson, who ran through Baylor last weekend and now leads once-beaten Texas Tech against Arkansas with the Southwest Conference title and the Cotton Bowl at stake

Fearless Tot
Redcoats Return
People
Boxing
Horse Racing
Horse Shows
Sam's Pigeons
19th Hole: The Readers Take Over

Finding the Trials guilty

Eighteen pairs of the country's best bridge players are competing in San Francisco this week to see which three partnerships will represent the U.S. in the 1966 World Championships in St. Vincent, Italy next April. The contenders earned their way into the U.S. Team Trials through recent tournament performances, and there is reason to think that as a group they are the strongest field of candidates we have ever assembled. However, the chance is remote that the Trials will produce the strongest possible U.S. team. The odds are that at least one of the one-two-three finishers will be long shots whose automatic qualification is going to weaken our championship chances, not only because of their playing deficiencies but because the team captain will not have confidence in them and will overwork his other two pairs.

This is an article from the Nov. 22, 1965 issue Original Layout

Last year I said the same thing after the Trials, and I was much criticized by friends of some of the selectees who accused me of everything from personal prejudice to lack of patriotism. I did not bother to reply that I have always been prejudiced in favor of skill and victory, and I still am. The fact remains—and our recent performances in World Championships bear me out—that we have yet to come up with a suitable system for selecting our team.

There is, of course, no perfect system. But I believe our chances would improve if we qualified as many as six top pairs and then left it up to the captain to decide which three pairs would make up his team. Other countries follow a variety of systems, most better than ours. Recently the Philippines, for example, held a 14-session qualifying round among 11 pairs, narrowed their field to four and then had those play a prolonged round robin to see which three would represent their country. The hand shown here occurred when two of the best Philippine pairs met, Jose Reyes-Vicente Reyes and Robert Yap-Stephen Chua. It shows, among other things, that they know how to play the game in Manila.

The Reyes are a father-and-son pair, and it was son Vicente who made a wise decision when he did not double five clubs in spite of what could be three fast tricks. In fact, as declarer he would have brought home his five-heart contract if Chua had not brilliantly recovered from an earlier slip.

After winning the first club trick, East could have assured the defeat of the contract by cashing his ace of diamonds. Indeed, had he then continued clubs, South would probably have taken a losing spade finesse and gone down two. Instead—perhaps with the idea of having a reentry with which to give partner a spade ruff—East shifted to a spade. Fearing that East held a singleton, declarer went up with the spade ace and, to his joy, dropped the blank king.

South hastened to draw three rounds of trumps so that he could run the good spades. Meanwhile, if East had failed to realize his danger, South could have trumped dummy's second club and, having stripped East of spades, declarer could have thrown him in with the ace of diamonds. East would have to lead clubs, giving declarer a ruff and sluff, enabling him to get rid of a diamond loser. However, on the second trump lead, Chua made the spectacular discard of the ace of diamonds. As a result, declarer had to lose two diamond tricks for down one, doubled.

East-West vulnerable West dealer

NORTH

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

WEST

[King of Spades]
[10 of Hearts]
[8 of Hearts]
[7 of Hearts]
[King of Diamonds]
[Queen of Diamonds]
[10 of Diamonds]
[9 of Diamonds]
[5 of Diamonds]
[4 of Diamonds]
[King of clubs]
[9 of Clubs]
[4 of Clubs]

SOUTH

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

EAST

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

WEST
(Yap)

PASS
5 [Club]
PASS
PASS

NORTH
(J. Reyes)

PASS
PASS
PASS
PASS

EAST
(Chua)

4 [Club]
PASS
DOUBLE

SOUTH
(V. Reyes)

4 [Spade]
5 [Heart]
PASS

Opening lead: 4 of clubs