Linda Lee — My personal bridge blog

Playing with Mary


I am starting to play some bridge with Mary Paul.  You may not know Mary so let me describe her. 

Mary’s most noticeable characteristic used to be her bright red hair but sources tell me that Mary’s colour has gotten quieter recently.  Mary herself however is just the same.  She has a wonderful sarcastic wit. 

Mary is one of the best women bridge players I know.  With considerable success in Open and Women’s events.  I have written about her previously.  She was the author of a Master Point Press book, now out of print called Partnership BIdding, which helped players to discuss and document their agreements.  In fact the trophy which is given to Canada’s Venice Cup team is called the Mary Paul trophy.


She has the distinction of representing Canada in both Open and Women’s event, being part of the Open team that played in Biarritz in 1982. 

The WBF website had her placing 6th in the Senior Pairs in the Montreal open world championships but … see Mary’s comment

Fred Gitelman wrote a story featuring Mary Paul playing with Dave Colbert against Fred playing with Geoff Hampson.

Would you rather by lucky or good?

We played a team game on BBO today and it was interesting and a lot of fun.  We had about 1 minute for system discussions.  Mary had sent me some notes but I couldn’t open the Word Perfect file.

I missed something during the auction.  My hand:

♠ J102
♥ K6532
◊ A6
♣ J93

We were vulnerable against not and Mary opened 1◊.  My LHO, East bid 1♠ and I made a negative double.  I think most of you will agree with that auction.  Everyone bid after that:

West Mary East Linda
  1◊ 1♠ dbl
2♠ 3♣ 3♠ ?

What do you like here?  Ray thinks I should have doubled to say I had some cards and no clear bid.  What do you think?  Anyway I passed, West was done and Mary bid 3♣.  An advantages of passing was I now knew Mary had a five-card club suit.  My hand did seem a lot better and even though I don’t like bidding again when partner competes I think it is right on this hand to bid game.  I just missed the wrong on-the-way bid.   I bid 5♣ and I should have bid 4♥.  That would have given her a choice in case she had a three-card heart suit.

We were lucky and we made 5♣ anyway but 4♥ would have been much better.

Mary had

♠ 4
♥ J98
◊ KQ72
♣ AKQ72

The wimps in the other room played in part-score.

Perhaps the most exciting hand was this one where an expert opponent failed to see the right line to make 5♠ redoubled.

East-West Vulnerable

West Mary East Linda
    1♠ 2♠*
4♠ 5♥ 5♠ pass
pass dbl rdbl all pass

 * Michaels

I have rotated the hands for convenience.

  ♠ K72  
  ♥ A5  
  ◊ J10982  
  ♣ A95  
  ♠ AQJ1064  
  ♥ 86  
  ◊ Q  
  ♣ KQ86  

You get a heart lead.  What is your plan?


The first problem is what is my minor suit?  Mary didn’t double on trump or on heart cards so it seems to me that she has to have the top diamonds.  There really isn’t anything else.  So I am likely to have club length.  You need two entries to set up and cash the diamonds so one of them will have to be the ♠K.

You can afford to play a couple of rounds of trump.  (They break 3-1) but then you need to lead the You need to go after diamonds early.  You are going to have to use the ◊Q.  After the opponents win a diamond honour and cash a heart you regain the lead.  Cross to dummy with the ♠K, drawing the last trump and run the ◊J.  This will provide a discard for your long club.  This is one of those hands where finding the right line is worth a bushel of imps.  Going one down costs you 14 imps while making it is worth 12 imps to you.  (They made +650 in the other room).


  ♠ K72  
  ♥ A5  
  ◊ J10982  
Linda ♣ A95 Mary
♠ 9   ♠ 843
♥ KJ1097   ♥ Q432
◊ 76   ◊ AK543
♣ J10742   ♣ 3
  ♠ AQJ1064  
  ♥ 86  
  ◊ Q  
  ♣ KQ86  

1 Comment

LindaNovember 9th, 2008 at 2:05 am

Mary sent me this email and I wanted to publish as a comment because it is funny, as Mary always is:


Thanks for the “blog” and I cannot resist to tell you that you are right my biggest achievement is to come 6th in the Senior’s in Montreal, since I did not attend that particular event !

What did Fred write about Dave Colbert and I ? Was it at least funny?

At least Steve Cooper was funny in this month’s Bridge Canada where he described me as the” incomparable” MaryPaul because I am the only woman who won twice the CNTC.

Leave a comment

Your comment