Unit 216 & Des Moines Area Bridge
by Evelyn Mintzer

Hand from April 11th

Are you using your abilities to count? Think of the bidding, think of the distribution.

This hand came up April 11 game:

The bidding:
   S     W   N    E
1NT  2D  2S   P
   P      P

The 2 bid was alerted showing diamonds and a higher ranking suit.

The 2 of  was led.10, A, 6. West winning.

K of  , A, 2, 8. declarer winning.

Declarer spade to the A, K of spades, K of hearts - sluffing a diamond, spade to Q.

OK, what does declarer know about the hand? How many clubs can West have? The answer is either 1 or none. He has either 9 or 10 cards in the red suits and has shown 3 spades.

North now leads 3 of ♣ , 2, 10, and West wins the A of ♣ . Declarer now knows the whole hand and distribution.

North ruffs the diamond return and successfully plays the 8 of ♣ , for the proven finesse, earning him 10 total tricks, 5 spades, 1 heart, 1 diamond and 3 clubs.

By pausing to listen, think and count you will have the ability to play a contract more successfully.

Omar Sharif

Screen Shot 2019-02-01 at 10.25.02 AM.png

On January 30th, Al and I were cloistered in our warm home while outside the weather was minus 20 degrees.  What to do?  We decided to check out Netflix and to rewatch an old favorite, Dr. Zhivago (1965) starring Omar Sharif.

Omar Sharif was born in Egypt in 1932 with the given name of Michel Chalhoub.  He graduated from Cairo University with a degree in mathematics and physics.  He pursued acting as a career and made many noteworthy movies.

But also Omar Sharif became passionate about bridge.  At one time he was ranked as one of the top 50 bridge players in the world.  In 1964 he represented the United Arab Republic in the World Bridge Olympiad.  In 1968 he was the playing captain.  He authored several bridge books and contributed to a syndicated bridge column in the Chicago Tribune.

But in the year 2000 he completely gave up bridge, declaring his passion had become an addiction.

His grandson claims that his grandfather was the one to teach him about the birds and the bees, telling him, “…making love is like playing bridge, you either need an incredible partner or a really good hand.” 

In 1983 Al and I, with our children and 2 other families decided for winter break to travel to Costa Rica.  Upon our arrival at our hotel in San Josè, the desk clerk mentioned to us that Omar Sharif was also staying at this hotel under the name of Michel Chalhoub.  He was there for a marketing promotion for Jordaise Jeans.  You can imagine how excited we were for the possibly of seeing him, which we did at the swimming pool.

Our daughter Dana, who was uninhibited, approached Mr. Sharif and spoke to him saying, “My parents are bridge players, would you be interested in a game of bridge with them?”   He calmly looked at her and replied, “With your parents, no, but with you, yes”.Screen Shot 2019-02-01 at 11.12.20 AM.png 

This is Dana.  We could understand his answer. 

Twas The Night After Easter

 

'Twas the night after Easter  

Two guests in our house

Were playing some bridge   

With me and my spouse 

"Please tell me," she shouted   

"Why didn't you double

'Twas plain from the start  

We had them in trouble

"'Tis futile, my Dear --

I am taking no stand

So please stop your nagging  

Let's play the next hand

"Remember next time" 

She said with a frown

"To double a contract  

That's sure to go down

So I picked up my cards  

In a downtrodden state

Then I opened one spade  

And awaited my fate.

  

East dealer   N/S vulnerable

  

                  North

                 S 9876

                 H 65432

                 D 8765

                 C --

    West                            East

 S --                               S AKQJ10

 H QJ109                      H AK87

 D KQJ109                   D --

 C KQJ10                     C A987

  

                   South

                  S 5432

                  H --

                  D A432

                  C 65432  

 

The guy sitting south    

Was like many I've known

He bid and played         

In a world all his own

"Two diamonds," he countered   

With scarcely a care

The Ace in his hand   

Gave him courage to spare

My wife, smiling faintly  

And tossing her head

Leaned over the table,     

"Double," she said

And North for some reason 

I cannot determine

Bid two hearts so smoothly 

Like preaching a sermon

I grinned as I doubled   

Enjoying the fun

And turned round to south   

To see where he'd run  

But south, undistressed    

Not at loss for a word

Came forth with "two spades" -- 

Did I hear what I heard?

The other two passed   

And in shear disbelief

I said "Double, my friend,    

That'll bring you to grief"

South passed with a nod     

His composure serene

My wife with a flourish       

Led out the Heart Queen

I sat there and chuckled  

Inside o'er their fix

But South very calmly   

Ran off his eight tricks

He ruffed the first Heart   

In his hand right away

And then trumped a club   

On the very next play

He crossruffed the hand     

At a breathtaking pace

'Til I was left holding    

Five spades to the Ace  

In anguish my wife cried  

"Your mind's growing old

You should see that Six NoTrump   

For us is ice-cold"

By doubling this time   

I'd committed a sin

It just goes to prove    

That you never can win

 

Earning a Game With Rich


Last night I was reading one of our Hawkeyers and read the article by Rich Newell. In it he stated that when inquired about the most important convention he thought useful, he replied, “Counting”. He admitted he sometimes becomes lazy in doing this, but if he is focused, it may make a better result. At the end of his article, he challenges an opponent to describe his hand and if accurate, Rich will play with him in a Wednesday game.

 

Yesterday I had an interesting hand which fortifies what Rich’s article stated. Al and I were playing against Steve Whitaker and Lester Cadwell in the GNT event. By the way, I believe Steve is a rising star in our bridge community.

Here is the hand:
 

                                                KQ109x

                                                AQx

                                                xx

                                                xxx

Axx                                                                                         xxx

Jxxx                                                                                        10x

AJ9xx                                                                                     10x

x                                                                                              KQJxxx

                                                Jx

                                                K9xx

                                                KQxx

                                                Axx
 

The bidding:  (we play 2/1)  so a response of 1NT is forcing, opener will bid his next longest lowest suit.
 

N       E        S      W

1♠      P      1NT    P

2♣      P      3NT    P
 

I won the opening diamond lead with my K.  (wanted to fool Steve but he did not bite). Played the J of spades and lost to the A of spades on the 3rd round.  Steve returned a heart, I won with the A, cashed my spades, discarding 2 clubs and a diamond, played the Q of hearts on the board and the K of hearts in my hand.


Here is where counting becomes important. What did Steve have?

 

3 spades, 4 hearts, probably 5 diamonds and a singleton club.
 

I cashed the A of clubs, removing Steve’s exit card of a club, threw Steve in with his good J of hearts and he was forced to give me a diamond trick. If I had played the heart before the A of clubs, I would have lost 2 diamond tricks. The other table went set in a spade contract. 
 

Rich, I cannot play in a Wednesday game, but do I qualify to play with you in another game?