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A Hand I Will Never Forget!
Submitted By Ken Parker
This hand is from a 1976 Swiss Teams regional tournament event played at the Pheasant Run Resort in the suburbs of Chicago. My partner was Neil Campbell and our opponents were Richard Katz and Larry Cohen who were regarded as one of the ACBL’s most successful partnerships in the mid-1970s.
An auction with multiple bidding mistakes resulted in a contract of 7♥. The opening lead was ♣Q. Shown below are our hands:
What an awful contract! I’m missing the ♥K and the ♦A. Recognizing that the ♦A is very likely in my RHO’s (right hand opponent’s) hand because it wasn’t led at trick one by LHO, I quickly recognize a false-carding opportunity to possibly avoid my diamond loser.
I win the opening lead in my hand with the ♣A, leaving the ♣K in dummy as an entry I will need later. Then I lead my singleton spade to dummy’s ♠A. Then I play the ♠K, discarding the ♦T. Then I play the ♠Q, discarding the ♦Q. (By discarding the ten and then the queen of diamonds, I have made it appear as though I have no more diamonds.)
Next, I call for the ♦2 from dummy. With dummy’s remaining KJ98 of diamonds, I have made RHO think I’m going to trump the ♦2. RHO can't play the ♦A because that would make dummy's diamonds all winners. RHO smoothly plays low and I produce the carefully hidden ♦7 and win the trick!
Next, I play my remaining club to dummy’s ♣K and then call for the ♥J from dummy. RHO plays the ♥T and I overtake dummy's ♥J with the ♥Q. I then play the ♥A and RHO’s ♥K falls under my Ace.
At this point I claim all the remaining tricks because I have nothing left but winning hearts in my hand.
How remarkable! Winning a diamond trick with the hidden ♦7 while winning all 13 tricks against world class opponents. -- Certainly a hand I will never forget!
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But I Was Going to Make Six Diamonds!
Submitted by Robert Munger
My first wife and I were playing in a club game in Freehold, NJ in 1972.
It was the last round and LHO, a woman in her twenties, was in 6♦, concentrating hard on planning the play. Meanwhile, in the next row and one table over, where I could see but declarer couldn’t, West had a heart attack, fell on the floor and died!
Several people jumped up, rushed over and tried to help, but it was too late. George was gone.
Our declarer was oblivious to all of this, intent on playing six diamonds, which makes.
The director canceled the last round, of course. LHO was incensed that her slam wasn’t going to count.
Rest in peace, George.
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Submitted by Robert Munger
We didn’t have a team for the Swiss, so we planned to get there early. But partner had car trouble and we arrived five minutes before game time. He asked a friend and learned of a pro team looking for a pair.
So we teamed up with two pros, Steve and Tommy, and their sponsor, Julia. Tommy, from New Orleans, was too hung over to play right away, so he sat out the first two matches. Julia had a great time playing with Steve, so Tommy sat out the next two matches as well.
After lunch he was ready to play, but Julia insisted she would keep playing with Steve. So Tommy played match 5 with my partner and match 6 with me. Julia left to catch her plane and finally the two pros played at the same time. Going into the eighth and final match, we were in fifth place. We had a shot to win, but it was quite a parlay. The second-place team had to beat the first-place team by a little; if they won big we couldn’t catch them. The third and fourth place teams had to play a close match. And we needed a blitz.
And it all happened!
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Submitted by Robert Munger
I was in my twenties, playing in a Sectional Swiss in Beaumont, Texas. We were doing well and drew Bobby Nail’s team for our next match. (Bobby played in the Bermuda Bowl in 1963.)
He had a five-person team, the other four being strong female players. Since they were playing against a bunch of nobodies, Bobby decided to sit out this match.
Six of the seven boards were totally flat games, making an overtrick if a finesse worked.
On the seventh board, I was 3-5-3-2 with 20 points and a 5-card heart suit. The bidding went 2♥ – pass – pass to me. Not knowing what else to do, I bid 2NT. Partner bid 3♦ , which we had not discussed. RHO doubled and partner made 3♦ , +470!
Our teammates hadn’t finished playing. I was so sure we had won – they doubled us into game, after all – that I took a walk.
When I returned, I learned that the player holding my cards had bid 3NT, making 400. The other hands were indeed flat and we won the match 2 – 0.
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Dr. Steve, the Lying Doctor
Submitted by Steve Goldman
Having played kitchen table bridge since moving to Brunswick Forest in 2016, I met my close friend, Tom Cerjak, at the homes where we would play bridge each Wednesday. Tom, after noticing my enjoyment of wanting to play and learn, asked if I might partner with him at a duplicate bridge game being started here by a one of our neighbors. So began my journey playing duplicate, initially at the Fitness Center whose game was started and directed by Ben.
Tom introduced me to a number of standard bridge conventions, one of which was the strong 2- Club opening. We agreed to respond to 2-clubs using Steps. It seemed easy to understand and did not require a great deal of memorization.
So we practiced our conventions and began our very first duplicate game at the fitness center. Ben introduced himself and began introducing the many new faces to the world of duplicate bridge to which many of us had never played before.
I recall quite vividly one of his many points of duplicate play was on how to use that new contraption called a Bidding Box to make your bids! The bidding box seemed unfriendly and not sociable at all, but that was the rule and Ben stressed on more than one occasion that day that once you placed the bid on the table, it was final! Unlike when were kids when we wanted to take back a move or something we might say to our child playmates when playing a game that, if allowed to take back that move, "I will be your best friend with sugar on top". Ben emphasized that once a bid is down, it is down, period, no ifs, ands, or buts about it.
So we begin my adventure into duplicate play. On the second hand that day I wanted to bid a 3C preempt, but by error pulled out the 2C and placed it on the table. Hearing Ben's previously remarks over and over again in my head, I had no choice but to continue playing. Tom had 12 HCP and began his bidding as we had practiced over and over again prior to that day. When the bidding came around to me, I began making up some wonderful and colorful rebid responses that flooded my brain. Tom, upon seeing them, had no idea what in the world I was doing. By his facial expressions, I knew he did not understand the meaning of my rebids. Tom would then rebid appropriately, trying as best he could to get me back on track to which I again made up other remarkable and interesting rebids. Well, needless to say, we went down 4.
During a short break later in the game, Tom took me aside and began questioning my bid and rebids on that hand. When I explained that I mishandled the bidding box and was trying the give him notice that something was amuck, he finally understood all the fabricated rebids I made.
His final comment prior to our resuming after that short break was, " So you made up all those rebids?” To which I answered most emphatically, “ Yes.” Tom responded, “Well you made up some good lies.” For years thereafter , Tom referred to me to others as " Dr. Steve, the Lying Doctor."
PS: Tom did weeks later inform me that a “mechanical error”, if caught quickly, would be allowed to be corrected. Despite this, Tom continued his usual Dr. Steve, the Lying Doctor, reference when introducing me to others.
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The Broken Table
Submitted by Ken Parker
It was about 1966 that this incident occurred. I can place the time because of the memorable conversation that evening about how so many fellow Americans were expressing distrust in the findings in the Warren Commission Report. I was living in Wauconda IL and had found about 6 or 7 other bridge enthusiasts who would play money bridge many Friday evenings at one of our houses.
The Broken Table incident occurred at our host Patrick Lueder’s house. Pat’s partner was a hothead high school teacher named Bill Sandvos. On the memorable deal, I was Bill’s LHO (left hand opponent) and my partner was the Rector of the local Episcopal Church, though I don’t remember his name.
Bill opened 1NT with the popular 16-18 HCP range used back then. Pat raised his partner’s bid to 3NT. I made the opening lead and Pat tabled an awful dummy that clearly should have passed his partner’s 1NT opener.
Declarer Bill became outraged with his partner’s garbage hand. He slammed his fist into the center of the table saying, “You bid 3NT with that shit?”
With that, the table caved down the middle and fell to the floor, along with drinks, ashtrays, cards, etc. It was a big mess! We all started cleaning up this mess and, all the while, Bill made one apology after another for his behavior. With each apologetic gesture he made, the other 3 of us piled on because we were enjoying making Bill feel like the jerk he could sometimes be.
As we were putting the two halves of the table back together, Pat’s 13-year old son, Arthur enters the living room from another part of the house and says, “Oh, I see the table fell apart again.” Of course, Bill's demeanor changed and he had a big smile on this face as we all laughed and laughed.
If weren’t for Arthur, this story would have been much less memorable, perhaps not very memorable at all.
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Winning 7-0 vs. Who’s Who?
submitted by Donna Parker
Ken and I were playing in a Swiss Team event in the Atlanta Summer Nationals in 2013. Our teammates were Len and Eden Perkins from Macon GA. In the first match, when our opponents came to our table, Ken seemed to know them. I thought that the man was Mike Passell and I knew him as being a somebody. After playing the 6-board match, our teammates came back to our table and we compared scores. We had gained IMPs on 4 boards and tied 2 boards. Unbelievably, we had won by a score of 7-0, a shutout!
Our 4-person team had total lifetime masterpoints of 9,531. Afterwards, Ken looked up our opponents and located their 2013 masterpoints:
Mike Passell 72,058
Carolyn Lynch 11,864
Lew Stansby 27,067
Bart Bramley 21,242
Team Total 132,231 Lifetime Masterpoints
Our little team had been outgunned in masterpoints by 132,231 to 9,531. Yet, by playing our best, we not only won, but we also shut them out. Three of our opponents were household names in the Who’s Who of Bridge.
We won all four of our matches that day, but finished 2nd overall in the event. After losing their first match to us, the pro team won their next 3 matches by larger margins than our next 3 wins and they finished 1st overall.
Ken was so proud of our team’s achievement that he framed our score card. This is what hangs nicely framed on our office wall:
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My Funny Drury Story
submitted by Ken Parker
It was in the early 1970s and I was in Los Angeles on a business trip. As I often did when I was not traveling with associates, I sought out the local bridge club. I phoned the Los Angeles Duplicate Bridge Club and asked if they could find me a partner for that evening.
They told me they happened to have someone needing a partner and I then asked them to ask my partner to arrive 30 minutes before game time so we could detail a convention card. I was also informed that I might be lucky and see John Wayne that night because he often played there between movie roles. (No such luck.)
I arrived 30 minutes early and began waiting for my partner to arrive. I waited and waited. At game time, precisely 7:30, my partner, George Goldring, walks in and we get introduced. He says to me, “Make out a convention card. I’ll play anything you want to play. I need to have a chat with someone.”
I quickly make out a convention card and George returns, glances at the card, and says, “What? NO Drury?”
I say “I didn’t know if you played Drury.”
He says, “You didn’t know if I played Drury? -- Hell, I WROTE THE BOOK!”
Needless to say, I quickly added Drury to our card. We never had a Drury auction that night and I do remember that we were 1st overall in about a 15-table game.
At some point during the evening, George told me that he really did have a role in writing the book on Drury. (BTW, Drury originated in the 1950’s as an artificial 2-club response by a passed hand responding to partner’s 1H or 1S opener. The 2C response showed limit raise values and support for partner’s major suit opening bid.) The convention has undergone numerous revisions since its inception.
At home after the business trip, I confirmed much of George’s story. Douglas Drury invented the convention because of his partner’s ridiculously weak 3rd chair opening bids of one of a major. As the convention grew in popularity, Doug began writing The Drury Two Club Convention. It was published in 1965, before Drury’s death. Due to Drury’s failing health, the book was allegedly finished by his wife Peggy and his friend George, using Doug Drury’s outline and notes for the book. Peggy is shown as the book’s co-author and, per George, in the Acknowledgements she credits George Goldring for his assistance in completing the book.
So, that’s my Drury Story!
But I must add what happened on two subsequent games at the Los Angeles DBC. On the second night there, my arranged partner was a former Miss Tall America. She was about 6’5” and had stunning beauty. We won that night, too.
On my 3rd and final visit to the club, my arranged partner was the father of the great ULCA point guard, Henry Bibby. We must not have won that night because I don’t remember the outcome of the game.
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Jordan 2NT Convention Adjunct
submitted by Ken Parker
In the early 1990’s, I began playing the Jacoby 2NT convention to show opening hand values and 4-card support for partner’s opening bid of 1♥ or 1♠. Opener’s rebids to my 2NT response were as follows:
- Opener’s rebid of 3 of a new suit showed shortness in that suit
- Opener’s rebid of 3 of the major opened showed 17+ points and no shortness
- Opener’s rebid of 3NT showed 15-16 HCP and no shortness
- Opener’s rebid of 4 of the major opened showed a 12-14 point hand with no shortness
- Opener’s rebid of 4 of a lower ranking suit than the major opened showed a second 5-card suit with a quality suit
In addition to Jacoby 2NT, I was also playing the Jordan 2NT convention with most partners. In Jordan, over partner’s 1♥ or 1♠ opening bid, if the next chair doubles for takeout, my 2NT bid shows a limit raise (10-12 points) of partner’s major and promises 3-card support of the major.
One day it dawned on me that we had no specific agreements regarding opener’s rebids (like we had with opener’s rebids after a Jacoby 2NT response). I recognized we could use the same opener’s rebids we were playing after the Jacoby 2NT bid. However, it was necessary to flip-flop the meanings of opener’s rebidding 3 and 4 of the major, allowing us to pass 3 of the major with a minimum opener opposite a minimum 2NT response.
Well, you know what? I had just created a new adjunct convention for Jordan 2NT responses. Of course, I called it “Parker”. This would be shown on the back side of the convention card in the box for OVER OPPS T/O DOUBLE.
Fast forward a couple of years …
Donna and I are playing in a 3-day sectional in Harrisburg PA in early 1997. In a Friday pairs game, an opponent looks at my convention card and asks “What is this “Parker” thing?" I quickly explain, “Its using opener’s Jacoby 2NT rebids after a Jordan 2NT bid, but flip-flopping the meaning of 3 and 4 of the major.” The opponent says, “I like that.”
Two days later in the Sunday Swiss, we are playing against players I never saw before. I glance at one of the opponent’s convention card. In the proper place is entered “Parker”. I point to it on their card and show Donna. The opponent pipes up, saying, “Want to know what that is?”
I say, “There’s no need to explain – I’m Parker.” And of course I give Donna a wink and a smile. It was a moment I shall not forget.
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Married Couples Do Not Necessarily Make The Best Partners
submitted by Ben Reischer
One of my memorable stories happened at the Crystal City bridge club in Arlington, VA. For several weeks an excellent player had been trying to teach his wife how to play duplicate. Each week he would get less patient and nastier to his wife as the game progressed.
The finale occurred one week. He kept getting louder and redder and was admonished several times by the Director. He finally lost it and screamed out at the top of his lungs -- "You Play Bridge Just Like You Screw". The club broke out in hysterics, the wife was mortified and stormed out, and that was the last time we saw her.
Another noteworthy event occured at a major bridge tournament in Stuttgart, Germany. I was sitting North and the North South French couple behind me were getting louder and started shouting steadily at each other as the game progressed . The director came by twice and politely told them to calm down. At the second time he warned them they would be penalized if he had to come back.
They started fighting again and this time the wife (North) threw a board at dear hubby, missing him. It came flying by my head (missing me) and knocked down a water glass at the next table. They literally started physically fighting and it took three directors to separate them and throw them out. When things settled down, a director took the microphone, apologized for the disruption, and calmy said that we should continue playing, adding that it was not considered proper bridge etiquette to throw objects at your partner.
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Very Memorable Flannery Hand
submitted by Ken Parker
Flannery is a convention some players like for its preemptive and descriptive value. When a partnership agrees to play Flannery, their 2♦ opening bid shows a hand with 5 hearts, 4 spades, and 11-15 HCP (high card points). A further benefit of playing Flannery is that when partner opens 1♥, partner's 1♠ response promises 5 or more spades.
At a Chicago regional tournament in the early 1970s, I was playing in an Open Pairs event with a partner named Margo Brockett. Opponents come to our table who we immediately recognize. One is the famed, world champion Jim Jacoby and the other is John Wachter, a pro from Milwaukee. On the first hand, with both sides vulnerable, Margo opens a Flannery 2♦ . Wachter doubles for a minor suit take-out, and I bid 2♥ holding ♠x, ♥xxxx, ♦xxx, ♣Axxxx.
Jacoby doubles my 2♥ bid to show he holds good cards. Margo now jumps to 4♥ which is doubled by Wachter. Three passes follow.
Jacoby leads the K♣ and Margo lays down this dummy (declarer's hand shown below dummy):
I win the opening lead with A♣ . With just the Q♥ and J♥ missing, both fall as I lead to the A♥ at trick 2. At this point, I claim all but 2 of the remaining tricks (conceding a diamond trick and a spade trick). We score +990 for 4♥ doubled making 5, with only 11 HCP in our combined our hands. The opponents held 29 HCP.
As soon as Jacoby concedes the outcome, he turns to Margo and says, “Nice bid, young lady.” Jim Jacoby was always known as a class act. Instead of being resentful after being swindled by Margo, he compliments her on her double swindle (opening 2♥ and then bidding 4♥).
Margo made this strange 2♦ bid because she had expected an otherwise poor result against Jim Jacoby. Instead, we earn a top board and a tale we can tell for the next 50 years!
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