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Local Pair Tops in North America

  by Richard Pavlicek

About 100,000 bridge players from 90 countries competed in the fifth annual Epson Worldwide Bridge Contest on June 8. I am pleased to announce that the North American champs emerged right in our midst — Harold and Madelyn Shibe of Lauderhill. Playing at the Bridge Club of Tamarac, they achieved a score of 73.5 percent. Congratulations!

I asked Madelyn for an exciting deal, and she modestly replied “We were just lucky.” Tongue-in-cheek she told me about Harold’s great feat: “Opponents conducted a beautiful auction to reach a grand slam, and Hal found the killing lead. After careful consideration he cashed an ace.” The opponents’ misadventure gave the Shibes a top board.

Yes, you have to lucky to win over thousands of players. But you also have to make the most of each opportunity, and Harold did just that on today’s deal (No. 5 in the contest).

3 NT South
N-S Vul
S A Q 10 4
H K 7 4
D A K 10 8 7
C 4

1 D
1 S
3 H
1 H
1 NT
3 NT
S K J 9 2
H 9 6 5 2
C A 9 8 6
TableS 7 6
H Q 10
D 9 6 4 3
C K J 7 5 2

Lead: C 6
S 8 5 3
H A J 8 3
D Q 5 2
C Q 10 3

Madelyn, North, opened one diamond, and Harold showed his four-card major suit. North rebid one spade, South said one notrump, and North jumped to three hearts to show a good hand with exactly three trumps (with four North would raise earlier). South did not relish the idea of playing in the 4-3 heart fit, so he corrected to three notrump, a bit nervous about the club situation.

West led a club to East’s king; on the club return South played the 10, and West ducked. Usually the ducking play would be harmless (declarer will always win a club trick), but Harold took full advantage. He proceeded to win the rest of the tricks, and the remarkable feature is that he did it without a finesse.

First he ran the diamond suit; from his hand he threw two spades, and West threw a spade and three hearts. Next he ran the heart suit, and West, radiating various shades of purple, was devastated. He had to blank the spade king (else throw the club ace), so dummy won the last two tricks. Another top board!

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© 1990 Richard Pavlicek