he Milwaukee Sentinel – 26 Nov 1955 by Ely Culbertson

North Dealer; N/S Vulnerable

Inasmuch as tournament bridge is played much more slowly and deliberately than rubber bridge, one might suppose that very few mechanical errors appear in tournaments, and especially not on the part of noted experts. Unhappily, however, this is not true. National championships have been won and lost by blunders that would make the average player blush. Take the hand above for example.

The final and deciding board of a match for a national team title, it was first booted around by the famous declarer and then booted right back by the equally famous defender who sat East. The play at the other table had already been concluded when this board, the last, was taken up, and spectators clustered around four-deep to see what would happen here.

With East-West unable to compete, North-South soon arrived at a small slam contract in clubs (North having bid spades a few times and South having shown both clubs and hearts), West, after long consideration, opened the spade nine, and the battle was joined.

Declarer, winning the first trick in dummy, wasted no time in making his mistake. He led the trump seven to his own ace. He then laid down the trump king and got the news about the 4-1 break, he led a diamond to the king, discarded his other low diamond on the second spade honor, and then led the ten of trumps. Now it was East’s turn to trip over his own feet. Instead of ducking and thereby make South use up a precious entry to get back to his own hand.

East covered, and the hand automatically returned to its original status, in declarer’s favor. South captured East’s trump jack, drew his last trump and then led a low heart to the Jack. East held off, but to no avail. South led a diamond to his ace and gave up a heart trick, then rutted East’s spade return  and claimed the contract.