Embarrassed Again


Author: Larry Cohen
Date of publish: 01/01/2015
Level: All Levels

In 2009, I pretty much "retired" from playing bridge -- so that I could focus on teaching and writing. Other than an occasional date, I've stayed on the sidelines. If nothing else, I haven't had any embarrassing bridge deals for 5 years.

 

In December, 2014 the phone rang. David Berkowitz's regular partner (since 2009), Alan Sontag had to cancel out on a Florida Regional. Would I fill in? I had to cancel some golf dates as well as some lesson-planning and writing. Off to the Regional I went. Our team did well, but this deal proved quite embarrassing. With many kibitzers (maybe they thought it was their last chance to ever see me play --- and if there are many more deals like this one, they could be right), I held:

?AK983
?K2
?54
?AKQ8
At favorable vulnerability I opened 1?. David and I play (for 20 years we were partners) a Stong club system (Precision). This is our big bid (like 2? in "Standard.") LHO preempted with 4? (I hate it when they do that) and it came back to me. I could double for takeout, but didn't want to hear 4? from partner. I could just pass and try to set them, but I guessed to bid 4?. As little as ?Qxxx ?xxx ?xxx ?xxx, would give me play for game. Everyone passed, a high diamond was led and I bought poorly:

 

  ?54
?QJ876
?1072
?J76
 
     
  ?AK983
?K2
?54
?AKQ8
 

If only his majors were switched. Oh well. The defense cashed 2 high diamonds (RHO throwing a heart on the second round). On a 3rd high diamond, East discarded again and I ruffed. I knew I'd be down, so it was just a matter of reducing the undertricks. I played hearts next. I wanted to establish a heart trick while I still had trumps left in dummy to protect against further diamonds plays. I played a low heart and West discarded a club! Hearts were 6-0. RHO took the ?A and returned a heart for his partner to ruff. Now came another diamond which RHO ruffed with the ?Q. Rather than endure another heart through, I overruffed and started to draw trump. Maybe I could get out for down 2 or 3. On the high trump RHO showed out! Yikes!!! Spades were 5-1. I had now lost total control of the deal. In fact, LHO was down to all good diamonds and had more trumps than me. Whatever I played next, he would win and with his ?J10 draw my remaining low trumps. I took no more tricks and was down 7! Minus 350--not a very common score.

 

 

 

Vul: E-W
Dir: South
?54
?QJ876
?1072
?J76
 
?J10762
? 
?AKQJ983
?2
  ?Q
?A109543
?6
?109543
  ?AK983
?K2
?54
?AKQ8
 

Just to review the debacle with all hands in view...3 rounds of diamonds and I ruffed. All I got after that was my AK of trumps!  I played a heart (LHO throwing his only club) and RHO won the ace and returned a heart ruffed. On a diamond back, RHO ruffed and I overruffed. When I laid down the other high trump, that was all I could take. I was down to ?98 while LHO had ?J107. At the other table, South opened 1? and defended against 3? down 1.

 

This was the last deal of the first half. We did go on to win the match, but when we returned for the second half, all the kibbitzers were gone.