Dayton Daily News

Like golf, playing bridge is a test of character

- By Frank Stewart Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

I’ve played bridge for 50 years and golf longer than that. Both are tests of character.

“I have a character flaw on the course,” a friend told me. “If I hit a good shot and get a bad result — maybe the ball bounces sideways into a bunker — I’m upset by the injustice of it all and don’t focus on my next shot.”

A good bridge player accepts that luck is part of the game. He knows he won’t play perfectly. He stays in the present and treats each bid or play as a new problem.

Today’s North-South misfired in the auction. When dummy came down, South saw that six diamonds or 6NT needed only a 3-2 diamond break. South wondered how he — or North — might have bid differentl­y.

Still wondering, South took the king of clubs and the queen of diamonds, returned a spade to dummy and cashed the ace of diamonds. When West discarded, 3NT was in trouble. South took the king of diamonds and led a heart to his jack, but West won and led a spade. South won and took the ace of hearts, but when the king didn’t fall, he had only eight tricks.

South needed to focus on the actual contract, not one that might have been. After he wins the first club, he can lead a heart to his jack. West wins and leads another club, and South wins, cashes the queen of diamonds, leads a spade to dummy and takes the A-K of diamonds. If the suit broke 3-2, South would have the rest.

When diamonds break 4-1, South lets the nine of hearts ride. He wins three hearts, two spades, three diamonds and two clubs.

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