SI Vault
December 19, 1966
By now you have considered the new safety features in the 1967 cars, but how about adding some safety features to your 1967 cards? Though I am a firm believer in aggressive bridge, lately I have noticed a trend toward too much boldness, so here is a safety lecture. The problems generally call for the most careful approach, but that is not always the lowest possible bid. If you score 34 or less, increase your insurance; 35 to 49 and you are safe in most games; 50 or more and your opponents should check their own coverage against losses.
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December 19, 1966

Mr. Goren's Christmas Quiz

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The bidding indicates that even if partner has opened a skimpy three-card suit, any missing clubs will be in the East hand and therefore finessable. So nine tricks in no trump becomes a reasonable proposition and gets the top award. If you decided to double three hearts you should be headed for a profitable penalty bonus. The point for four clubs is a sop—to those who stayed out of an unmakable five-club contract.


Did you win the diamond king, lead to the diamond ace and ruff a third diamond low, planning to trump your fourth with dummy's 10? Take 1 point for reckless courage. Were you more cautious, spending the 10 of clubs to ruff the third diamond lead, thus preventing an overruff and a trump return? Take 2 points for discretion. But if you won the diamond king, surrendered the second diamond trick—thus ensuring that your ace would not be trumped—and later ruffed your remaining small diamond with dummy's 10 of clubs, you made the slam against West's singleton diamond, and thereby win the Goren safety medal for 1966, and 5 points to boot.


You earn 1 point if you won the spade, cashed your clubs and hearts, led ace and another diamond and found West with the diamond king. Two points for caution if you ducked the first spade, took the second, played as above and found East with the diamond king and no more spades.

Five points for mastery if you took the second spade, cashed your club and heart winners and then led the jack of spades, putting West in with his marked queen. West may win three spade tricks, but his next lead gives you your ninth trick.

Two points for luck if you won the spade in dummy, played a heart to your 10 and found East with the queen. But hold it: subtract 1 point because 50% of the time West will have the heart queen. If so, he shifts to a diamond, the defenders win the next heart and lead a second diamond and your only remaining entry to dummy is knocked out before you can cash the 9 of hearts. Take 5, and a sure game, if you won the first spade in your hand and led a heart, keening two reentries to dummy. Make it 6 points if your first lead was the heart king—the bonus being for the occasional time you can drop a lone queen.

Take 1 point for the probability that nothing bad will happen and that you'll usually make six by ruffing, leading to dummy's remaining high diamond and taking a spade discard on a high heart. But to win the 5 for safety you must allow for the possibility that East holds eight hearts, which is not impossible since West is already marked with seven spades and three diamonds. If this is the case West can overruff put his partner in with the king of spades and collect another heart ruff with his remaining high trump. So you must dump your losing spade under East's heart ace. West can ruff one heart, but cannot put partner in to get a second ruff.

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