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The general sits north
Charles Goren
September 18, 1961
When General Alfred M. Gruenther first gained prominence as General Eisenhower's chief of staff in World War II, he already had an international reputation as a contract bridge personality. During the '30s, for example, when he was only a lieutenant, he was the referee of the Sidney Lenz-Eli Culbertson "Battle of the Century," which was reported on the front pages of American newspapers for weeks. I suppose it was to be expected, therefore, that when he finished second recently in the Charity Pairs, the opening event at the American Contract Bridge League's summer national championships in Washington, he was featured in newspaper headlines over the winners, Louis Kelner of New York and Robert Freedman of Buffalo; Even his partner, Charles Solomon of Philadelphia, got obscure billing.
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September 18, 1961

The General Sits North

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1 [Heart]
5 [Diamond]


1 [Spade]
5 [Spade]

Opening lead: king of clubs

West's double of the opening diamond bid was irreproachable. North's one-heart bid was a fortunate strategic choice since it filled the glaring hole in South's hand. East's free bid of one spade was, if anything, an underbid. After that, the bidding gained pace until the moment of decision when Freeman had to decide what to do over the five-spade bid. He elected to go to six diamonds, although he would have been glad to play at five if he hadn't been pushed. By bidding six he could hope for some slight chance of making the contract—or that the opponents might save at six spades.

With three potential defensive tricks, however, West was not interested in a sacrifice bid, so he doubled. Much to his disgust, he failed to take even one trick; the only one his side gathered was his partner's ace of hearts.

There was no problem in the play. South trumped the club lead, drew the one adverse trump, ruffed all three of his spades and lost only to East's ace of hearts. At the other table, when Hochfeld and Miss Turner held the East-West hands, they were allowed to play a five-spade contract and went down only one trick to win the match and the title.

With a freak hand, if there is the slightest danger the opponents might make their contract, it is always best to bid a little more than you think you actually can make.

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