Playing in a Flight A Swiss, we are pretty much out of the event, despite being 4-1, because we were blitzed in the first round. To my left is the biggest, tallest bridge player I have ever seen: Wilt Chamberlain. It turns out that he has been playing for only six weeks. Now he is thrown into the shark pool.

Partner deals and opens a 10-12 notrump and all pass.

S: K1084
H: 10973
D: AK9
C: 43
S: 732
H: 86
D: Q10
C: AJ10976
S: QJ5
H: KQ2
D: J8432
C: K5
S: A96
H: AJ54
D: 765
C: Q82


West leads the C:J and Wilt wins the King. Studiously, he returns his other club and West runs the clubs. Declarer pitches all four hearts from dummy and two diamonds and a heart from his hand. Wilt can spare a heart and two diamonds, but what can he pitch on the last club? Nothing at all; he is suicide progressive squeezed. If he pitches a diamond, declarer can win the spade return (best) in dummy and cash three diamonds, squeezing him in the majors. If he pitches a heart or a spade, declarer has seven tricks immediately. He pitches a diamond, then squirms again, only to concede defeat in the end as declarer chalks up seven tricks.

In order to beat 1NT, Wilt needed to shift to the H:K at trick two. That seems to be a very difficult play for anyone, not just someone playing in his first tournament. It is not good enough for West to abandon clubs, since declarer can just simply set up two heart tricks to make his contract.

All at the table were amazed by the hand; none of us had seen one of these before. Imagine: my partner, all 135 pounds of him, squeezing Wilt Chamberlain to death. Isn't bridge great?

Copyright © 1995 Jeff Goldsmith