ACES ON BRIDGE

Arkansas Democrat-Gazette - - STYLE - — Clive James BOBBY WOLFF

Com­mon sense and a sense of hu­mor are the same thing, mov­ing at dif­fer­ent speeds. A sense of hu­mor is just com­mon sense, danc­ing.

The tri­als for the World Cham­pi­onships in Rhodes ul­ti­mately ended un­hap­pily from my per­spec­tive, when we lost in the semi­fi­nals. But here is a hand from the quar­ter­fi­nals, show­ing my part­ner, Bob Ham­man, in fine form; if you want to em­u­late his per­for­mance, you might con­sider the prob­lem he was faced with, by look­ing solely at the West hand.

The op­po­nents had ma­neu­vered them­selves into three no-trump, and nat­u­rally enough, he led a low club, which went to my queen and de­clarer’s ace. Now de­clarer, af­ter some thought, played a spade to the ace and a sec­ond spade back to the queen and his king. What now?

Ham­man found the fine play of the heart queen. As you can see, with the di­a­mond fi­nesse suc­ceed­ing, it was crit­i­cal for the de­fense to take their heart win­ners at once, or de­clarer would have had at least nine win­ners. As it was, once the de­fense took their heart win­ners as East, I could exit with a di­a­mond, and that led to two down. Mean­while, our team­mates were record­ing 620 from four spades in some com­fort.

One can sym­pa­thize with South’s prob­lem on his sec­ond turn to speak — his choice of two no-trump would have worked sat­is­fac­to­rily against most de­fend­ers. Per­son­ally, though, I would drive to game with the South cards, so would use fourth-suit forc­ing and bid spades. If I didn’t feel the hand was quite worth that, an in­vi­ta­tional jump to three spades would also be rea­son­able.

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