BRIDGE

The Weekend Australian - Travel - - Front Page -

mag­a­zine turns 80 this month. It was founded by Ely Cul­bert­son in New York in 1929. He hoped it would be pop­u­lar on news­stands but it quickly evolved into a mag­a­zine for bet­ter than av­er­age play­ers and a sound­ing board for new the­o­ries. It is still the high­est au­thor­ity on many as­pects of the game, such as the laws.

But it suf­fers from the Amer­i­can bridge malaise of liv­ing in the past. To us for­eign­ers, it makes as much sense to start bid­ding di­a­grams with South in­stead of West as it does for the Amer­i­can Con­tract Bridge League to out­law all bid­ding con­ven­tions that do not get the nod from its age­ing aris­toc­racy.

Owner and ed­i­tor Jeff Rubens re­cently com­pared the best play­ers of to­day with those of the 1940s and 50s. He found that a ran­dom group of to­day’s sub­scribers would beat the world’s best of that time. That says a lot about how the game has pro­gressed. It also gives you an idea of the stan­dard of his sub­scribers.

Deal one comes from It is a good il­lus­tra­tion of how you should count as a de­fender.

As West, you lead the king of hearts against six spades. The de­clarer takes the ace, draws trumps and elim­i­nates the di­a­monds. He then ex­its with the 10 of hearts to your queen.

The play of such a high card would give you the im­pres­sion that this is the de­clarer’s last heart. You there­fore might feel in­clined to switch to a club for fear that the de­clarer would trump a heart in dummy while pitch­ing a club from hand. But a lit­tle count­ing shows that this fear is un­war­ranted.

The de­clarer is known to hold six spades West — Pass All pass North — 3 East — pass South 1 6 and two di­a­monds. If he has only two hearts he must have three clubs, so it is al­ways safe to exit with a heart. As you can see from the di­a­gram, the de­clarer was up to no good and a club switch would be fa­tal.

Deal two shows the evils of mak­ing your­self void. West led a low di­a­mond against three no-trumps. East won with the king and shifted to a spade to the jack, queen and king. The de­clarer now had nine tricks. The chal­lenge was to make 10.

The de­clarer started with the queen and jack of clubs. On the sec­ond club, West made the mis­take of dis­card­ing his sin­gle­ton heart. Now when the de­clarer played a heart, the whole hand was known. East had five hearts, five clubs, two spades and a di­a­mond. The de­clarer sim­ply cashed the spades and the other top heart be­fore putting East on play with a heart. The en­forced club re­turn into the

A K-9 in dummy con­ceded the over­trick. Without the re­veal­ing heart dis­card from West, the de­clarer had no clear rea­son to adopt this suc­cess­ful line. Paul Marston

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