The Sydney Morning Herald – Apr 15, 1984
Mr. Richard John Cummings is regarded as the greatest Australian-born bridge player of all time. His ethics and demeanour set the very highest standards and he was a role model and mentor to many of Australia’s finest bridge players. He edited World Bridge Federation News for some years and his daily bridge column was widely and enthusiastically read over the course of twenty-years by bridge players ranging from social to the best players.
THE most amusing hand around the traps this week has very little to do with bridge and a lot to do with poker. It happened during a ‘major US championship, the 1983 Reisinger Knock-out Teams, as reported by Alan Truscott in the New York Times.
Imagine you are WEST, John Lowenthal. You are an «action- player», which means you like to bid a lot, even when you have nothing. Nothing is exactly what you have when this dynamic sequence crops up:
Dealer North Neither vulnerable
You West Hold: 7 10 6 5 10 9 8 4 3 2 9 4 2
Who wants to be a sheep?
Before passing like the rest of the world, you consider the implications of the auction. Partner has long hearts. You have long diamonds, To justify a blast to the stratosphere, South, presumably, must have a long, solid spade suit, backed up by first-round controls in all the other as and a good fit in clubs.
In fact, North and South can reasonably be assumed to hold 10 clubs between them, at being so, your partner is void. If only another suit were trumps and you were on lead to play a club. If only, if only!
Maybe there is a way out. Why not try a psychic Lightner double, asking partner for an unusual lead?
South, conned into thinking an opening spade lead from East will be ruffed, may run to seven spades. Lowenthal gave it a shot …. and hit the jackpot:
Opening lead by West: the 2.
According to Truscott: «South was a large, aggressive character. He put his cards face upward on the table and glared at East, if you are going to ruff this I’m going to kick you.
East was small and nervous, with a strong sense of self-preservation. He produced a tramp to beat the slam, got up from the table and set off at a great rate for the horizon.»