His Pianola Broke Down Part II

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But Mr. Pigeon is wont to make these thoughtless plays from time-to-time, which is at other reason why he loses at bridge.

By Ana Roth
On 7 January, 2016 At 14:07

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Sarasota Herald-Tribune – 17 May 1964 by Robert Powell

His Pianola Broke Down Part I

Mr. Pigeon, as chronicled in this column last Sunday played a four hearts contract which he thought would be a “pianola” but, unfortunately for Mr. Pigeon, his pianola hit a few sour notes along the way, and he went down one trick for a very frigid bottom on the board. All of this, as you will remember, happened just 20 minutes ago on board 11 at the Tuesday night duplicate, and now Mr. Syker, the seemingly perpetual black cigar clamped between his teeth, is trying his varied skills on this same board 11. Let’s peek over his shoulder and see what happens.

Neither Side Vulnerable South Dealer


Opening Lead—K

South opened the bidding with 1, West passed, Mr. Syker bid 1 and East, playing the intermediate single jump overcall, showed his strong six-card diamond suit by jumping the bidding to 3. South, deciding to leave the next action up to Mr. Skyer passed. So did West, Mr. Syker, in the parlance of the bridge buff. “had come to play,” so fortified by his six-card heart suit, his 11 high card points opposite his partner’s opening bid, he catapulted directly to 4. All passed, and, in due course, East made the opening lead of the K.

Mr. Syker studied the dummy thoughtfully while he took time out to ARCH the hand. There were, he figured, two possible spade losers, two possible diamond losers and, if the hearts broke three-two as the percentage figured them to break, one heart loser. Five possible losers in all—two more than he could afford. So, he cogitated, he would have to find some way to eliminate two of these losers. He trance some more while he worked on his problem. Finally, reaching his decision, he called the 4 from dummy, took the trick in his hand with the ace. He next played the 9 from his hand and successfully finessed dummy’s jack.

When it held, he called the A from dummy and pitched one of his losers, the 2, on the trick. He next called the Q. If you will remember from last week’s column when Mr Pigeon made this same play, he pitched the 3 on the trick, then went on to lose two spades, one club and one trump trick for down one and a very frigid bottom on the board.

Mr. Syker played it differently. Quite differently. On this Q, he pitched the 2—the true loser-on-a-loser play. East took the trick with the  K and he was boxed, but good . . . For, whatever he returned, Mr. Syker’s contract was assured as long as the trump suit broke three-two. East, in desperation, returned the trump queen in an effort to cut dummy’s ruffing power but Mr Syker was equal to the gambit. He called the trump ace from dummy, then the 6 which he took in his hand with the ace. He then shot back the 3 and ruffed it with the 3. He next called the 7 from dummy, West ruffed with the 6, Mr. Syker overruffed with the 7 but East had the last word by overruffing with the 10.

East shot back the Q, Mr. Syker ruffed with the 5 played the K to capture East’s jack. He then cashed out his good 8 and 9 and conceded a spade trick to the opponents. Four hearts daringly bid and brilliantly played. Plus 420 for Mr. Syker and his partner and no worse than a tie for top on the board.

And this was the same board, the same contract and the same play for the first three tricks as employed by Mr Pigeon. who had gone down one trick for a very frigid bottom on the board -and the reason Mr. Pigeon had gone down was an exceptionally simple one. Instead of pitching a losing spade on the Q as Mr. Syker had done, Mr. Pigeon quite thoughtlessly had pitched a ruffable diamond three on it, thereby leaving himself with two losing spades instead of just one. But Mr. Pigeon is wont to make these thoughtless plays from time-to-time, which is at other reason why he loses at bridge.


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