Tuesday, July 14, 2009

summer, Devil's Tickets, close game **+

Summer Greetings

I've been enjoying the summer--walking and swimming--and not writing about bridge. Bob and I are tuning up our game and revising our notes--getting ready for the NABC in Washington D.C. next week. We played team games in San Francisco, Oakland and Sonoma during the last few weeks.

On Sunday in Sonoma our team was languishing in the middle of the pack after 4 matches---our games hadn't been making! Finally, our close notrump games started to come home and we started moving up in the rankings. As we began our last match we were disappointed (and protested!) that we couldn't play the leaders, but knew we would have a good chance for second place with a solid win. Our opponents were good players and sometime teammates. The match seemed very close and I found myself in 3NT on the last board. I had to make it to win the match, but I didn't like my chances:



I had opened 1C and pard bid 2C, inverted. I invited with 2NT, balanced minimum, and he bid 3NT. I got a low heart (attitude) lead and won the J with the ace. I could only count 6 tricks! I decided to play on hearts to see if I could develop anything there. Accordingly, I led a heart toward the 8 which I intended to finesse. LHO inserted the 9, however, and I won the K. I returned the 8 to his Q and now my 10 was good. Now I am up to 7 tricks (4 clubs and 3 hearts).

On the heart RHO pitched an encouraging spade and LHO shifted to a low spade. Now the contract is going down, I thought, so I was happy when the SK won. Now I was up to 8 tricks. It was now time to run the clubs and cash my last heart. On these cards RHO pitched several spades and discouraged in diamonds. All of a sudden I could see a faint chance for a 9th trick. I led a diamond toward the K and held my breath--(very possibly RHO will win and they will cash the rest of the tricks, or LHO will win and they will cash their spades). But--the K won! I had my 9th trick and threw in the rest of the cards. It turns out that there was a very fortunate spade holding--LHO had Ax, which prevented a wholesale cash out of spades.

We compared scores and the 10 imps won on this board propelled us to a 12 imp win and second place finish. Of course, the real reason you play bridge in Sonoma is to go to a nice restaurant afterward, which we did!

Check out this new bridge novel and enjoyable summer read:

The Devil’s Tickets - A Night of Bridge, A Fatal Hand, and a New American Age

Author and journalist, Gary M. Pomerantz has just released his latest novel, The Devil's Tickets - a fascinating look at the true story of glamorous Kansas City housewife, Myrtle Bennett, who killed her husband over a bridge game. Set during the Roaring Twenties', on the eve of the Depression, Pomerantz's novel weaves the story of the Bennett trial with the rising popularity of the bridge craze sweeping the country at the time. Click here to watch Part I of a peformance of an excerpt from the book. Click here to watch Part II of the performance. For more information about the author and the book, visit www.garympomerantz.com .

I was particularly interested in getting my hands on the book as my partner of many years, Frank Bessing, is quoted in the book. I remember when the author interviewed Frank, a family therapist, about the dynamics of couples playing bridge together. Dear Frank was an expert on that topic. :-) While the book doesn't contain any bridge hands, it is a fascinating story about the Culbertsons and the immense popularity of bridge during this interesting time in history.

Hope you all are having a great summer. If you have any questions or hands you want us to publish, send them along.

See you at the table!