Rubbed It In

Bridge Week has been going poorly for me. After a bunch of knockout events, I've lost 80% of my matches, despite having played fairly well. Oh, well. I'm even up IMPs for the tournament.

In the quarterfinals of yet another knockout, we are playing against an expert player who is famous for screaming at his partners, opponents, teammates, even himself. His partner is an easy-going expert.

We have had the better of it when I pick up at favorable vulnerability

 S:K8632 H:84 D:3 C:K9854.
Partner passes in first chair and the screamer opens 1H:. I decide that Michaels is a bit rich on these cards and I don't want to have to judge what to do if I bid 4S: over their 4H: and it gets doubled, so I overcall 1S:. The Easy-Going Expert bids 2D: and RHO cues 2S:. It sounds like they are going to reach 3NT and I'd like to suggest a club lead if partner is on lead, so I make a "lead-averting" double of 2S:. LHO passes and RHO thinks for a long time, then redoubles. I pass, although I give fleeting thought to 3C:, and LHO also thinks for a long time and passes. Partner does, too, and we are in 2S:xx. That wasn't what I had in mind.

S: 1075
H: KJ2
D: AKJ76
C: A10
S: K8632
H: 85
D: 3
C: K9854
S: 4
H: 973
D: 10952
C: Q7632
H: AQ1064
D: Q84
C: J
I lead my fifth-best club (3rd and lowest) and dummy wins the ace. Partner encourages as declarer drops the Jack. Declarer thinks about the hand for a little while and takes a trump finesse, which succeeds. He thinks some more. He crosses to dummy with a diamond and tries another trump finesse. When partner shows out, he has a clue that this one might not work and rises with the trump ace. He's in big trouble now. I ruff the next diamond, draw dummy's last trump, and run clubs at him. He ruffs, cashes two hearts, and I claim the balance for down one!

6NT was frigid, as was 6H: and 7D:. We are +400 vs. their vulnerable grand slam!

In order to avoid laughing or gloating, I get up and leave the table. It's the last hand, so that's OK. I can't, however, keep the story to myself.

I've told it to half a dozen friends already when I decide it's time to apologize to the Easy-Going Expert for telling this story on them. As I get to the table, I hear the EGE screaming at his partner, "you revoked and you yelled at ME!" This might not be a good time to mend fences.

When we compare scores, it turns out our teammates missed the slam, so we only gain 14 IMPs on the board. We win the match by 13. After the final comparison, I think about it for a little while and remark to my team captain, who has just returned from turning in the result, "hmmm...we won the match on that board!" He replies, "I know. I've already rubbed it in."

Jeff Goldsmith,, July 12, 1997