Expert Bridge By David Burnstine

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THE more you play bridge, the more you will find, after reaching a certain state of proficiency, that real skill means only the ability to think well and promptly.

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Reading Eagle – 18 May 1931       

THE more you play bridge, the more you will find, after reaching a certain state of proficiency, that real skill means only the ability to think well and promptly. There are certain hands which will yield the same results, both as to bidding and playing, for the expert as well as the ordinary player; but there are more hands which will react quite differently when manipulated by a player who has analyzed the possibilities.   Let me give you a good example. Some time ago a game was played in which Walter F. Wyman and Miss.Rosamond Fahey were partners. Both of them well known players, and Miss Fahey has also distinguished herself as one of the best women golfers.

This was the hand:

Miss Fahey dealt. Both sides were vulnerable.

Miss Fahey had been tempted to go to 4, but she suspected that her partner’s 3 had been a rubber-saving bid and that it was dangerous to bid further. Now, on examining this hand, you will agree that all North and South can make are four tricks: Two Hearts and two Spades. Yet, by a very clever bit of thinking on Wyman’s part, North and South took in five tricks, thereby setting their opponents and saving the rubber.

This is how it was done: On his opening lead, Wyman led the Ace of Spades and then a small , which his partner won. Miss Fahey then led a Spade. West, as well as the other two players at the table, thought that North was short of Spades and would trump, so he played low and Wyman won with the Q. To the accompaniment of exclamations of astonishment, he led another Heart. Miss Fahney won and played another Spade, which Wyman trumped.

The entire play rested on Wyman’s supposition that if he opened with the Ace of Spades against the opponents bidding of that suit they would naturally think he had a singleton and West would therefore play a small card on the next Spade lead.

It was a perfectly logical assumption and the plan worked. Of course if West had played the King. North and South would only have taken two tricks, but it was worth Wyman’s risk of the loss of a trick to attempt to set the contract.

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