Cry me a River by Zia Mahmood

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Eddie is a professional bridge player. He plays the American circuit all year round…

By Zia Mahmood
On 20 September, 2015 At 12:43

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Cry Me a River” is a popular American torch song, written by Arthur Hamilton, first published in 1953 and made famous in 1955 with the version by Julie London. Recordings include a version by Aerosmith, Ella Fitzgerald, Ray Charles, Barbra Streisand, Natalie Cole, Dinah Washington, Rick Astley o Etta James… (Wikipedia)

Eddie is a professional bridge player. He plays the American circuit all year round, hiring himself out at tournament like a gun-slinger from the old West. Some of Eddie’s partners, especially at local tournaments, can be of less than expert class — and that’s putting it mildly. But Eddie is pleasant to them all, always ready with a helpful smile and a reassuring word.

As you can imagine, Eddie has seen it all, from bids that would be rejected as implausible in a horror movie script to defenses that were not precisely what Rodin had in mind when he sculpted The Thinker. So, when a muttering Eddie interrupted my siesta by the pool at a national tournament in Miami, I was ready to listen. “I pick up a good hand as East,” he began:

 A 7 6  10 5 3  K Q  A Q 10 5 4

“However, before my partner, whose turn it is to bid, can get out a syllable, South on my left opens 1NT out of turn! My partner is given the option to accept this bid, but she refuses and opens the bidding with a pass. North passes as well, and I have to decide what to do.

“Since the rules are that South can bid what he likes, but North must pass for the rest of the auction, I decide to open 1 rather than 1NT, which is what I’d normally do. It seems to me that South is going to have to guess what to bid, and if he guesses at a high level I’d like a club lead. Sure enough, South decides to gamble on his partner having a few high cards, so he overcalls with 3NT! I’m happy enough with this, so I pass when it comes round to me.

“Partner leads the jack of spades, making me wonder why I bothered to open one club, but the dummy is a reassuring sight at first glance:

aa

“You’ve probably guessed the full hand for yourself, but you may as well see it all:

aa

aa

“I win the ace of spades and return the suit. Declarer wins with the king, shrugs his shoulders, and cashes the ace of hearts. When my partner’s king falls on this trick, I begin to feel sick, and as the play progresses I feel worse and worse…

“Of course, once the king of hearts falls under the ace, declarer cashes the queen of spades, then plays four more rounds of hearts ending in the dummy. He next plays ace and another diamond, so I am well and truly endplayed into giving dummy a ninth trick with the king of clubs. As if that wasn’t enough, declarer makes an overtrick because his jack of diamonds is now good! Not surprisingly, this particular North-South are the only pair in game…” Eddie’s voice tailed off as he walked away, still muttering to himself and looking for another shoulder to cry on. I wished him luck; he was certainly due some!

 

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