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Event Marks 50 Years of Bridge

  by Richard Pavlicek

The American Contract Bridge League, founded in September of 1937, will celebrate its 50th anniversary with the “Golden Anniversary Pairs” on Tuesday evening, September 15. Anyone can play in this event, which is sponsored by the Royal Viking Cruise Line. An unusual attraction is that “gold” masterpoints — until now attainable only at large tournaments — will be awarded at the local level. Participants also will receive a souvenir book containing analyses of the deals by Richard Pavlicek (hey, that’s me)… sorry, no previews. Check with your local bridge club for more information.

In honor of the occasion I have selected a deal that was played 50 years ago in New Hampshire. Not being around at the time, I thank George S. Coffin, who published it in his classic book, Endplays.

4 S South
Both Vul
S J 6 4 2
H Q 6
D Q 6 4 2
C A 6 4

2 H

2 S

3 H
1 S
4 S
S 10 8
H A K 10 8 5 3
D J 10 8
TableS Q 9 7
H 9 7 4 2
D 9 7
C Q 9 7 2

Lead: H K
S A K 5 3
D A K 5 3
C 10 8 5 3

South’s opening bid of one spade would not be the choice of most players today, but in 1937 the mainstream was “four-card majors.” After West’s routine overcall and North’s raise, it is curious to note East’s vulnerable raise on “garbage” and South’s aggressive jump to game. I guess bridge players will bid ‘em up in any era.

South ruffed the second heart lead, then the ace and king of spades were cashed. On a lucky day the queen would drop doubleton; but not this time. Declarer next led three top diamonds as East discarded a heart. (East could not gain by ruffing with the master trump.)

It still appears that two clubs had to be lost, but declarer found a way around it. He played the ace and another club to put West on lead. The forced heart return allowed declarer to discard dummy’s remaining club and ruff in hand, thus making his contract. West could not avoid the endplay; if he unblocked the club king under the ace, East would have to crash the jack to gain the lead, then South’s 10 would be good.

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© 1987 Richard Pavlicek