Linda Lee — My personal bridge blog

Even a wolf needs a little bridge luck

Over the last few days the theme of bridge luck has come up a number of times.  The first time was when I happened to go for a walk ending up in Lawrence Plaza, a small outdoor mall in Toronto which happens to be the home of the Regal Bridge Club.  The Regal has been there as long as I can remember.  While it is primarily a rubber bridge club in the last little while Barbara Seagram has been running duplicate games there five nights a week.  Just outside the Regal was standing Franco Bandoni.  Franco is a longtime bridge player who had a lot of success in tournaments in the 60’s and 70’s, a fiery Italian who has lately spent his time playing rubber bridge in at the Regal.  While we reminsced a little he talked about the rubber bridge players.  How when new blood comes into the game they get eaten up until they learn the ropes but the importance of luck in winning, in rubber bridge of course but also in tournament bridge.  Skill wins in the long run but even over a few weeks luck is a more important factor.  Franco talked about how he might bid to a great game and down it went, while all the opponents bad games came home.  Both of us agreed, luck ran in streaks.  Comments mathematicians!

Last night I watched the last round of the semi-final match in the U.S. Senior trials.  One of our friends and a Master Point Press author Bobby Wolff was playing.  It looked like things were locked up when I left the computer for a while.  When I came back I saw they were playing the last board up only 5 imps.  The last hand it turned out was a "story hand".  This is what happened.

In the open room Drew Casen for team Onsott opened pass and Ed Wojewoda held S 92 H AJ94 D AQ872 C J2.  He opened 1D vulnerable against not.  The auction continued as follows

West Wojewoda East Assemi
pass 1D 2C DBL
2S pass 4S 5D
pass pass 5S pass

Now this was the last hand of a long match.  No cracks about thes fellows being seniors.  I am very sensitive about "old" jokes.  Wojewoda forgot that Assemi was NOT a passed hand and therefore that the pass was forcing.  He passed!  This actually got a director call when Assemi shouted "what!" quite loudly.  Anyway the hand drifted down 2 for -100. 

Assemi held S A H KQ75 D J10543 C A53

At the other table this is what happened

West Wolff East Morse
pass 1D 4C 4NT
pass 5H pass 5NT
pass 6C pass 6D
all pass      

Now if you put the North-South hands together you will see that 6D depends on the diamond finesse.  It appears that in this auction 4NT is not keycard and that 5NT was checking for kings.  As you can see Morse was a bit lucky to find his partner with a suitable hand but never the less 6D is on a finesse, assuming there is no ruff on the go.  Now I suppose the finesse is more than 50% on the auction but there is a reasonable chance of a heart ruff on the go as well and putting it all together this slam is not much more than 50-50.  (I know there would have been a double if East held a heart void).  So to a large extent it was a coin toss whether the Onsott team won last night or whether they needed a playoff.  (Had Wojewoda doubled in the other room as he might have if a cow hadn’t flown by, it would have been an outright win).

The result – the finesse was on and the match was over.  How fragile is victory! 

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