Article 7A55   Main

Hammerin’ Harmon

  by Richard Pavlicek

Not the Killebrew of baseball fame
but a killer brew at bridge!

I’ve known Harmon Edgar of Wisconsin for more than 40 years, initially as a casual acquaintance at bridge tournaments, but mostly as a regular online opponent. Our early venue was OKbridge, and when that fizzled out around 2002, the action turned to Bridge Base Online until present day. One thing I learned over time was never to underestimate him. Turn him loose, and he’d play the spots off the cards.

Sadly, Harmon died earlier this month (September 3, 2023). Mourning a loss only makes life sadder, so I’ll brighten the tone with a hand Harmon recently played. I thought I had him beat in 4 S, but he turned me into mincemeat. At least I knew not to double him.

My partner was Jim Munday, and Harmon’s partner was Ira Chorush. [Deal rotated to South declarer]

South dealsS Q 3 2WestNorthEastSouth
N-S vulH A 9 6 5RichardIraJimHarmon
D 9 31 S
C K Q 10 3Pass1 NT12 H3 D
S A J 10 7TableS 5Pass4 SPassPass
H 8 4H Q J 10 7 3Pass
D 10 6 2D Q 8 5 
C J 6 4 2C A 8 7 51. forcing
S K 9 8 6 4
H K 2
D A K J 7 4
4 S SouthC 9

After the 1 S opening, Ira began with a forcing 1 NT to later describe his limit raise with three trumps. My partner’s overcall was the usual “Munday special” favoring optimism over high cards. Harmon showed his second suit, and Ira jumped to game.

I once joked that Harmon Edgar attained his bridge prowess
as a crossbreed of Leonard Harmon and Edgar Kaplan.

The play began in routine fashion, Harmon winning the H K and leading his club to the queen and ace. At this juncture I expected to set the contract, as I was looking at three natural trump tricks — unless of course he could endplay me. Sure enough, Harmon won the heart return, pitched a diamond on the C K and ruffed a club to shorten his trumps. Next came three rounds of diamonds, ruffing in dummy, and another club ruff to reach this ending:

S win 2 S Q 3TrickLead2nd3rd4th
H 9 610. SD JS 7S QH 3
D11. NH 610S 8S 10
CWest is endplayed
S A J 10 7 TableS 5
HH J 10 3
S K 9 8
South leadsC

At this point Harmon had a lock to win two more tricks against any distribution by ruffing the D J with the S Q — the old “pinochle” play. As the cards lay, the S Q held, then a heart ruffed low and overruffed left me endplayed. Note that if East held the S A and overruffed the queen, Harmon would succeed with a similar endplay.

In my online matches I often referred to Harmon as the “atomic clock.”
If a match started at 8:00, he’d arrive on the dot — surely not 7:59.

It is also worth noting that Jim could not prevent the endplay after winning the C A by returning a trump (nine, jack, queen) which might only make the layout more obvious to Harmon.

Article 7A55   MainTop   Hammerin’ Harmon

In memory of Harmon Edgar (1949-2023)
© 2023 Richard Pavlicek