SI Vault
Edwin B. Kantar
December 24, 1979
If you've ever wondered what it's like to play bridge in a world championship, take a seat at the table. The eight hands shown here were drawn from the Bermuda Bowl, which was held in Rio de Janeiro last October. The writer was a member of the six-man U.S. team that competed against five other nations in a 480-deal round robin, then edged Italy in the final. The winning margin was a mere five International Match Points, narrowest in the Bowl's 29-year history, so it's clear that every decision was important. And each of yours will be, too. For every hand you "play" correctly, you will receive 50 points. When you're finished turn the page to see how you did.
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December 24, 1979

Your Chance To Be A Champ

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[— of Spades]
[Jack of Hearts]
[9 of Hearts]
[7 of Hearts]
[5 of Hearts]
[2 of Hearts]
[Queen of Diamonds]
[Jack of Diamonds]
[10 of Diamonds]
[9 of Diamonds]
[King of Clubs]
[10 of Clubs]
[6 of Clubs]
[5 of Clubs]

In the entire World Championship, during which I played close to 500 hands, I consider this my worst error: I forgot to count declarer's tricks.

When partner discards the deuce of hearts at trick one, you know declarer has the king of hearts. That, along with a known six-card spade suit and the ace of diamonds, gives declarer nine tricks.

The defense must set up two diamond tricks before declarer develops his 10th trick in clubs. The play is to win the ace of clubs and immediately switch to the king of diamonds. Then, when partner gets in with the king of clubs, he will have two good diamonds to cash.

However, when declarer played a low club, I cheerfully played second-hand low—goodby to defeating the contract. Partner won the king of clubs and played the queen of diamonds. I unblocked with the king, but declarer won the second diamond, reentered his hand with a trump and led a second club. I won the ace but did not have a diamond to lead, and declarer was able to discard his losing diamond on dummy's high club.

Incredibly, in the other room, Pittala, normally a very careful defender, also came to grief after a heart lead. Goldman won in dummy, concealing the king, cashed a high spade, led a spade to his hand and played a club. Pittala played low, and once again four spades came rolling in. No swing.

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