Pursuits: Bridge

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THE USE of screens in all major tournaments has dramatically reduced the number of complaints that a prolonged hesitation by a player before making a bid might have influenced a later decision by his partner. However, these situations still arise, and this example had its amusing side.

First, the bare facts when the winners of the Senior Pairs (Boris Schapiro and Irving Gordon of Great Britain) held the North-South cards.

East South West North

pass pass 34 double

pass 34 pass 42

52 pass pass 54

pass 64 All pass

West chose a good moment for his off-beat pre-empt, but think how much more effective it would have been if East had raised directly to Five Clubs instead of waiting until his opponents had got their act together. As you can see, there was little in the play of the hand.

It was agreed that Boris had thought for some time before bidding Five Spades but South's advance to the slam was clear-cut - after all, he might have held 4xxxx !xxx #xxx 2xxx! The opponents raised a polite objection and the tournament director's first assessment was that the contract should be adjusted to Five Spades. This decision was (quite rightly) reversed by the Appeals Committee, but not before Boris had made a memorable remark: "I had a difficult decision and I had to think for some time. But I didn't hesitate!" Ah! The subtleties of the English language...

North-South game; dealer East


4K J 8 4

!A J 4

#A K Q 6 4


West East

47 4Q 10 5

!K 9 3 2 !10 7 5

#8 5 #J 10 3

2K 10 9 5 3 2 2Q J 8 7


4A 9 6 3 2

!Q 8 6

#9 7 2

26 4