The annual Arthur L. Loeb Cup Bridge Tournament raises money for the Lenox Hill Neighborhood House on the Upper East Side of Manhattan. This year’s event, which attracted 200 players, including most of the top New York area experts, was held at the Neighborhood House on Oct. 8.
The pair with the highest score was a married couple from Manhattan, Anna and Erik Caspersen. When asked for a deal, they said that the one in the diagram was the most memorable, although it was littered with errors.
Anna (North) opened one spade. East then made a highly debatable takeout double with only two low hearts. (She should have overcalled two clubs, if unwilling to pass.) Now Erik (South) was in a quandary. A two-heart response would have been nonforcing. And to redouble with such a pronounced two-suiter did not appeal. So he gambled with a jump to four hearts, thinking the heart finesse would be working and uncertain how his opponents would do in diamonds.
But when West promptly doubled, South ran to four no-trump, relieved that no one doubled. Strangely, West led the heart jack instead of a diamond. When South saw the dummy, he was confident that East had the missing honors outside hearts for her double.
At double-dummy (everyone knows where each card lies), declarer would have done best to win with the heart queen, cash the heart ace (discarding two diamonds from the dummy) and take the diamond finesse. East could not have stopped declarer from winning nine tricks to go down only one.
At the table, though, declarer discarded a spade from the dummy and won with his queen. Then he ran the diamond ten. East took the trick with her king. (Ducking would have been better on general principles, although at double-dummy it did not matter.) East then made the fatal shift to the club king.
West’s diamond discard was a surprise to South. But now he correctly surmised East’s distribution. Declarer won with dummy’s ace and ran the diamonds. East threw a spade and a heart, South pitched hearts, and West parted with spades.
Declarer played a spade to his ace, cashed the heart ace and led a club to dummy’s ten. East won with her queen and cashed the spade king, but, at Trick 12, had to lead from the nine-five of clubs into South’s jack-eight.
Four no-trump bid and made for a complete top.