Bridge Corner: Bridge Club combines social and competitive natures

I&8217;m John Randall.

My wife Linda and I started the Shelby County Bridge Club a year ago to combine social aspects of &8220;party&8221; bridge with the competition of duplicate bridge.

We&8217;re both certified directors of the American Contract Bridge League (ACBL), and I&8217;m an ACBL-certified teacher. We use the fellowship halls of Christ the King Lutheran and Riverchase Presbyterian for our games.

Wow, what a busy week we&8217;ve had! At our Memorial Day celebration lunch we had 12 tables of bridge.

Winners this week:

Monday: Winners at Riverchase Presbyterian were Judie Fair and Judy Hasseld with a 63.43 percent game. In a very tight race for the rest of the masterpoints, Jerrie Friar and Liz Milko finished second; Judy Converse and Kathryn Howell in third place; and a tie for fourth/fifth place between the teams of Hazel Haas/Barbara Dawson and Linda Floyd/Rosann Dufek.

Wednesday: At Riverchase Presbyterian, Jerrie Friar and Judy Hasseld finished first, followed by Pelham native Jo Weatherly and her Meadowbrook partner Charlotte Lusco; third were Helena natives Lyn Hartwell and Betty Branch; fourth were Hazel Haas and Marion Henry.

Thursday: After a lesson on Overcalls, in our relaxed evening teaching game at Christ the King winners were Jo Weatherly and Charlotte Lusco.

Friday: I had a rare chance to play while Linda directed and I finished first with my Beginning Bridge graduate George Varghese of Pelham; second N-S were Janet Johnson and Judy Funk.

On the E-W side Ellen Thomas and Sarah Smith came in first ahead of Marion Henry and Geri Dodson.

Saturday:

We had some interesting hands. Winners were Sandy and Joe Primm, followed by Jo Weatherly and Charlotte Lusco, Hazel Haas and Barbara Dawson, Peggy Olson and Janet Johnson.

Hand of the Week: George and I had set Bernie and Frances twice on previous hands, and we had a pretty good heckle working.

When Frances laid her hand down, there were some additional comments about her sixth-round control of hearts; and of course, she&8217;d taken my bid. Partner led a low diamond to the jack. Bernie led a low club to the board, the queen overtaking the ten. A low club came back and Bernie finessed with the nine, forcing out the ace.

Since hand signals aren&8217;t allowed in bridge, I suffered as another diamond forced out the ace. Bernie was in Fat City; three more clubs, then four spades, conceding a heart at the end; making five NT and a top board. When they left the table, I made sure my wallet was still in my back pocket. Well done, Bernie!

I should have opened 1H in third seat giving us a chance at diamonds or NT; instead, I gave Bernie the chance to shine.

What made this worse was that 2D made our way in the South as did 2NT making four! Two hearts also makes. Playing NT South gets the heart 4 as a lead. South uses the Rule of 11 and calculates there are 7 cards higher than the 4 in North, East and South hands.

When East plays the 10, then there are no other cards higher than the 4 in East&8217;s hand. Thus the 9 of hearts can be finessed. But, South first tackles diamonds, leading the queen. East wins with the ace and returns a club, won by declarer&8217;s ace.

The heart finesse works, then the top hearts are run. Declarer then leads the ten of diamonds intending to finesse. East contributes the jack, West the nine; making 10 tricks.