Source: IBPA Column Service JUN 2021

Frank Stewart
Frank Stewart

Baron Barclay: Frank Stewart has been involved with bridge as a journalist, author, editor, competitor, and teacher. He is the creator of the popular “Daily Bridge Club” column.

My friend the English professor made one of his infrequent appearances at the club a couple of days ago. The prof has a low tolerance level for both bad play and improper use of the English language. He chastised me once for writing that a contract “foundered and sank.” “It’s a redundancy,” the prof advised me. “`Founder’ has a built-in sink. That’s what the word means.

I was sitting in the club lounge with the professor when a member came over and asked him if “abstemiously” is the only English word that has all six vowels in order. “Abstemiously,” mused the prof. “It means `not in excess.’” “The word usually refers to eating and drinking in moderation, doesn’t it?” I asked. “True,” the prof replied, “but some of my partners would do better to be abstemious about drawing trumps.”

Dealer South, Both Vul

J 7 6 5 3 2
4
J 6
Q 8 5 3
9
10 9 7 6 2
K Q 10 7 4
A 6
Q 10 8 4
8
9 8 5 3 2
K 7 2
A K
A K Q J 5 3
A
J 10 9 4
West North East South
2
Pass 2 Pass 2
Pass 2 Pass 4
Pass Pass Pass

That afternoon, the prof sat in for a few deals of rubber bridge and I watched a deal in which he had to suffer as dummy. South, playing at four hearts, took the K lead with his ace and promptly began to draw trumps. When he cashed the ace-king of hearts, however, East discarded a spade, and South found himself in hot water. He took the queen-jack of trumps and led the jack of clubs, which East won to lead another diamond. South ruffed, took his ace and king of spades, and led another club. However, West produced the ace and cashed the ten of hearts, drawing South’s last trump. West then took two diamonds for down two.

What luck,”

South sighed. The prof groaned. “If you weren’t such a glutton for drawing trumps, you’d have made the contract. You had only two top losers, so you could have afforded to lose a club ruff. So, lead the jack of clubs at the second trick.

If the defence takes the ace and king, ruffs the next club, and forces you to ruff a diamond, you can draw trumps – even if they broke 5-1 – and take the rest. ”If instead they win the first club and force you to ruff a diamond,” the prof went on, “you lead another club. If they lead a third diamond, you can ruff in dummy, keeping control, and you’re safe.”

Is abstemiously’ really the only word with a, e, i, o, u and y in order?” I asked the prof.

”Maybe,” he responded facetiously.

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