The declarer found himself with a good deal of work to be done and none too many entries to dummy's hand. North's diamond ace won the first trick and a spade was led, ducked by East and won by South with the king. Nail led a low heart and put in dummy's 10 to force East's jack. Declarer won the diamond return with his king, crossed to dummy's club ace and led another spade. East climbed up with the ace to lead another diamond. Declarer was careful to ruff in his own hand. He led a low spade and trumped with dummy's queen, then played dummy's 6 of trumps and, when East played low, finessed the 9. The ace dropped East's heart king and declarer's spades were good for the rest of the tricks.
In the other room, with Lew Mathe declarer against Smith and Wolff, the opening lead was the king of clubs. Dummy won and led a spade, won by South when East ducked. The king and ace of diamonds were cashed and a second spade led. East took the ace and returned a third round of diamonds. Declarer ruffed in dummy, discarding a spade from his hand and led the queen of hearts through, limiting East to a single trump trick and proving that there is more than one right way to play a ticklish hand.
The ladies of bridge, conspicuously absent from the lists in the first two Houston events, made their presence felt on the first day of the Fall Nationals, which began immediately after the intercity match. Usually the Men's Pair and the Women's Pair events are of equal importance, but this year the women's title carried with it a trip to France to play in the world bridge pair Olympiad next April. Many of the game's leading ladies were among the 258 pairs seeking the honor of the title and the pleasure of a trip to the Riviera in springtime.
One of the most interesting deals (hand C) of the first session shows a keen battle for a part-score contract—typical of match point pair play—capped by a brilliant double by Margaret Wagar of Atlanta, playing with Barbara Kachmar of Bronxville, N.Y.
The double by Mrs. Wagar is such stuff as match point top scores are made of, and the defenders managed to collect 500 points. The opening lead of the diamond jack was won by dummy's ace. The spade return to declarer's jack went to West's king, and Mrs. Wagar shifted to a trump, won by East's ace. Declarer played the king on a club return and West took the ace, continuing with trumps. East's queen was captured by South's king.
At this moment South could have made a brilliant series of plays, drawing West's last trump, cashing the club queen to strip East of exit cards, and leading the 10 of diamonds, to force East's king. Assuming that East returned the ace of spades, South could discard a club and East would then have to give dummy the lead to make the spade queen and diamond queen. South would have gone down only one trick.
Instead South returned the diamond 10 at once. East took the king and led a third round of diamonds, promoting West's trump 10 to a sure winner. South could do no better than discard a club. Mrs. Wagar ruffed and eventually made another club trick as well, to put the contract down 500 for a top score on the board.