One of my wifes students, playing in her first duplicate bridge game, held the South cards on todays deal. She and her partner bid correctly to four hearts. Alas. Perhaps out of inexperience; perhaps out of anxiety, she went down when she could have made it.
The refreshing part of this story is her attitude. Despite going down on this deal, and despite finishing in next-to-last place, she was glowing with excitement. She had a pleasant experience, made some new friends, and lest we forget she did not finish last. Not a bad accomplishment on her first try!
West led the diamond deuce, and declarer risked the finesse; she played low from dummy and East won the king. East shifted to the club jack, South won the ace and drew trumps. Too bad; the heart jack did not fall soon enough to provide an entry to dummy. When declarer led a spade, West grabbed the ace to return the club queen, which East overtook with the king to cash the 10 down one.
Next time, said South, Ill never take that diamond finesse with a singleton in my hand. Whoa, there. The diamond finesse was correct, since rising with the ace would leave almost no chance. The mistake was winning the first club. If declarer wins the club ace on the second round, West would be unable to return a club when in with the spade ace; then declarer would benefit from the discards in dummy.
I heard by the grapevine that our novice declarer is now playing duplicate regularly, twice a week. And Im betting shell be a winner before too long.
Add a new dimension to your own life. If you havent tried duplicate bridge, you are missing all the fun. In most metropolitan areas, games are available every day, afternoon and evening. Many clubs also offer special games for novice players the ideal way to break in and a teaching program. Contact the club nearest you.
© 1989 Richard Pavlicek