Par­lia­men­tar­i­ans pause for bridge

Times-Herald (Vallejo) - - CLASSIFIED­S - By Phillip Alder

Bridge ad­min­is­tra­tors strive to keep pol­i­tics and re­li­gion out of the game. The play­ers don’t care against whom they are play­ing, only against which bid­ding sys­tem. Oc­ca­sion­ally gov­ern­ments would in­struct their teams not to play against cer­tain op­po­nents in in­ter­na­tional com­pe­ti­tions. Hap­pily, though, those days are in the past.

Three decades ago, a team rep­re­sent­ing the Bri­tish Houses of Par­lia­ment trav­eled to Stock­holm to com­pete against the Riks­dag and other politi­cians. To­day’s deal was played by the In­dian Am­bas­sador to Swe­den, Pushkar Jo­hari, against the Par­lia­men­tary cap­tain, the Duke of Atholl, and his part­ner, Lord Smith.

In four hearts, de­clarer won trick one with dummy’s spade king, cashed the heart ace and played a heart to his king. West’s spade dis­card was an un­wel­come sight. How should Am­bas­sador Jo­hari have con­tin­ued?

To draw trumps would have put the con­tract all on the di­a­mond fi­nesse. If it won, fine; if it lost, the de­fend­ers would have cashed a cas­cade of clubs.

At the other ta­ble, the de­clarer took the di­a­mond fi­nesse be­fore draw­ing trumps. Bet­ter, but not good enough. East won with the king, put his part­ner on lead with the club ace and re­ceived a di­a­mond ruff. The club king de­feated the con­tract.

The Am­bas­sador found the best play: At trick four, he led a di­a­mond to dummy’s ace. As long as it wasn’t ruffed, he was plan­ning to drive out the di­a­mond king. He could then han­dle any de­fense.

When the sin­gle­ton king fell, there were cries of, “Keep your cards back, Atholl!”

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