Bridge Without Sam

Sam Dinkin, last year's fearless reporter, sadly to say, is no longer with us, having escaped to the wilds of Arizona. His legacy of fictional bridge columns may live on, but this week's is accurate reporting, at least somewhat.

Last November, Brian McAllister, a sophomore, and Bobby Bodenheimer, a graduate student, won the North American College Bridge Contest in its first year of existence. The game was run across the US and Canada simultaneously with each location playing the same hands. Brian and Bobby had the highest score in the country. For their efforts, each was granted a $500 scholarship. Third in the country, but, sadly, second in the region, were Jeff Goldsmith, a graduate student, and Fred Upton, a senior. The winners in each of 15 regions won scholarships.

This hand contributed to Brian and Bobby's continent-wide high score:

Matchpoints N/S Vulnerable
S: Q
D: K975
C: A754
S: 10876
H: 762
D: 1084
C: Q96
S: K5432
H: J9
D: J6
C: KJ103
S: AJ9
H: 10843
D: AQ32
C: 82
Pass6H:All Pass

1 Foolish

2 Negative double meaning ``I wanted to bid 1H:''

3 Heart support and a singleton spade

4 Aces. Also overbids.

Brian and Bobby reached this thin slam, though with the S:K expected onside due to the overcall, it is almost 50%. The opening lead was the C:6, and Bobby paused to take stock. He planned to draw trumps and take the spade finesse, but figured that it could not hurt to duck the first club trick. Maybe something good will happen. East won the first trick and continued clubs. Bobby drew two rounds of trump; both the Jack and nine dropped! This made it pretty safe to ruff two clubs in the closed hand in order to avoid the spade finesse. The play continued: third club ruffed safely with the eight, diamond to the King, fourth club ruffed safely with the ten, spade Ace, spade ruff, draw trumps and claim when diamonds are 3-2 or RHO has four diamonds and the spade King.

Whether or not this was the best line, plus 1430 was worth 96 matchpoints out of 100. A triumph for overbidding!

Copyright © 1992 Jeff Goldsmith