There are many likable bridge players, and a number of great bridge players; but it is noteworthy when a single player could head the list in both categories.
Norman Kay of Narberth, Pa. (a suburb of Philadelphia) is that player. As a frequent teammate of his over the last six-odd years, I can recall no situation in which he had a critical remark to make about anyone if he disagreed with a particular bid or play, he would say only that it was a close guess. Couple this with his own flawless play and a better teammate would be hard to find.
Kays delicate play of todays deal led his team to a first-place tie in the Reisinger Team event at the recent North American Championships in San Diego.
The bidding was routine until Wests bold three-spade preempt, which compelled North to raise to four hearts with only three trumps.
Kay, South, won the spade king with the ace (the bidding made it too dangerous to duck), and a heart was led to the queen and king. East returned a spade to West and a third spade lead put declarer at the crossroads.
Backing his judgment, South ruffed with dummys ace (East shed a diamond) and then passed the heart eight for a successful finesse. South was still not home (dummy lacked another trump to repeat the finesse), but the rest was routine for a player of Kays stature.
A diamond was led to Easts ace and the diamond return was won by the jack. Three rounds of clubs were cashed, ending in dummy, and the fourth club was led. When East followed, South discarded his last diamond and easily won the last two tricks with the J-9 of trumps poised over Easts 10-7.
© 1984 Richard Pavlicek