Hamman’s strongest asset by Brent Manley

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In Wolff’s mind, Hamman’s ability to forget what just happened at the table — so as to concentrate fully on the hand he’s playing — is one of his strongest assets.

USBC 2014 122
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Source: 68th Summer North American Bridge Championships; Daily Bulletin; Saturday, August 3, 1996 (Bridge Document Archive System ( BDAS ))

Brent Manley

Brent Manley

In Wolff’s mind, Hamman’s ability to forget what just happened at the table — so as to concentrate fully on the hand he’s playing — is one of his strongest assets. “Bob is the best I’ve ever seen at that,” Wolff says. “When a hand is over it’s over. He never falls from grace.”

Here is Hamman, at full concentration, in a knockout match against Lew Mathe.

mano hamman

Hamman & Wolff

Hamman & Wolff

Mathe cashed the top two hearts, getting the signal from East that he had three hearts. At trick three, Mathe played the spade suitJ. Hamman inferred that Mathe held the top three honors in hearts, and since Mathe
was a passed hand, he could not hold the A as well, so leading up to the K was not going to work.

Hamman’s plan to take 10 tricks needed some luck, but he played wide open to make his contract. He won the spade suitQ in dummy, ruffed a heart low and played another high spade from his hand. Then came four rounds of clubs, on which Hamman threw two diamonds from dummy, reaching this position:

aa

Lew Mathe

Lew Mathe

Hamman led the 6 to dummy’s king, and East was stuck.

If he played the Q, Hamman could ruff in dummy and return to hand with the spade suitK to cash the good J. If East got out with a low diamond, Hamman could put up the jack, taking a heart discard from dummy. He could then pull Mathe’s last trump and claim with the good spade suit6 in dummy.

 

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