Chicago supplanted Los Angeles as the Bridge Capital of North America this month, capturing the SPORTS ILLUSTRATED trophy in what was probably the most exciting intercity match yet played in the series. Los Angeles presented Nonplaying Captain Erik Paulsen with a powerful team: Lew Mathe and Robert Hamman; Ivan Erdos and Kelsey Petterson; and Don Krauss and Eddie Kantar.
Chicago, captained by Emanuel Hochfeld, had two former internationalists in William Rosen and Northwestern University Professor Ivar Stakgold. The other stars were less widely experienced: Danny Rotman, Alan Press, Paul Sugar, Burt Norton—a recently converted rubber-bridge player—and the only woman in the event, Gloria Turner.
It was a noisy, partisan and often standing-room-only crowd in the State Ballroom in Chicago's Palmer House, cheering every favorable swing, groaning whenever fortune seemed to favor Los Angeles. The enthusiasts had a chance to do both on the next-to-last board. Chicago was leading when, from the closed room, came apparent disaster (left).
South opened the jack of spades. After North had taken two spade tricks he gave South a spade ruff. North regained the lead with the heart ace to lead another spade for South to ruff, and declarer still had to lose the ace of trumps. The posted score was minus 1,100 for Chicago.
My panel of commentators speculated on what might have happened had Los Angeles been allowed to play four hearts. We soon found out in the open room.