Hamman’s strongest asset by 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.
On 3 September, 2015 At 17:01
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Source: 68th Summer North American Bridge Championships; Daily Bulletin; Saturday, August 3, 1996 (Bridge Document Archive System ( BDAS ))
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.
Mathe cashed the top two hearts, getting the signal from East that he had three hearts. At trick three, Mathe played the J. 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 Q 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:
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 K 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 6 in dummy.
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