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Twelve-Year-Old Squeeze

  by Richard Pavlicek

Richard Pavlicek, Jr. of Ft. Lauderdale created quite a sensation when his team won the Swiss Team event at the recent Sectional Bridge Tournament held at the Holiday Park Activity Center.

At 12 years of age Rich has two years of experience as a bridge player. This is his third tournament victory, and he has accumulated about 240 masterpoints (just 60 short of the requirement to become a Life Master). He was South on today’s deal.

Rich is an eighth-grade student at Nova Middle School and is studying computer science among his regular curricula. His current goal is to become a computer mathematician.

5 D South
Both Vul
S A K 10 8 6
D 5 4 3
C K Q 7 5

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

Lead: H 9
S 5
H 5 4 3
D A K Q J 10 6
C 6 4 3

After a one-spade opening by North and a jump to four hearts by East, Rich was not going to be shut out. With typical youthful abandon, he bid five diamonds. In fact, if the overcall had been six hearts, I think he would have bid seven diamonds… because it was his turn.

West led the heart nine and East shifted to a trump at trick two. Rich won and led a club to the queen and ace. East then continued with a high heart which was ruffed in dummy.

The bidding and West’s high-low in hearts made it obvious that an attempt to ruff another heart would fail, so the contract was still a trick short. Rich drew the outstanding trumps, cashed two top spades (discarding a club) and ruffed a spade, but this brought forth no miracles.

Rich remembered his daddy once said to “run his trumps” to make the opponents discard, so that’s what he did. When the last diamond was led, West had to keep the spade queen so he discarded a club. The spade 10 was thrown from dummy. East now felt the pinch; he had to keep a high heart so he, too, let go a club. Dummy won the last two tricks in clubs.

The defense, of course, was flawed. East could have beaten the hand by leading a heart at trick two or by returning a club after winning the ace. Nonetheless, the kid gets an “A” for accomplishment.

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© 1983 Richard Pavlicek