Did you ever stop to think and forget to start again? Winnie the Pooh


Alvin Roth
During a high stakes game one day, the legendary Alvin Roth and his partner found themselves defending a 7NT contract. On the third last trick, declarer, sitting East, with the ace and king in dummy, led the jack of spades. Roth’s partner (sitting South) pretended a painful hesitation before playing his card; he hemmed and hawed, pulling out one card and then another, before playing low to the jack. Declarer, assuming after all this performance, that South must have the queen, took a chance and let the jack ride. Though Roth, in fact, possessed the queen and (playing last) could have won the trick and defeated the contract, he opted instead to play a lower card. Declarer won the trick and, with ace, king in dummy, easily made his contract. Afterwards, Roth was upbraided by his partner for blowing the game. “For Heaven’s sake, Alvin,” he exclaimed, “why didn’t you take the queen?” Roth, a famously ethical player, stared the man down and wryly replied: “You hesitated so long, I thought you had it.”