Recalling Eric Paulsen, a World Safe bet

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Erik Paulsen was born within Oslo but moved to america after World War II. He passed away in Southern California at 86 on April 28.

Paulsen took up bridge soon after moving to America. A Grand Living Master of the American Contract Bridge League, he gained five national titles: the Reisinger Board-a-Match teams four times and the Blue Bow Pairs once. But their greatest achievement was the Bermuda Bowl victory in 1975 in Monaco. It was the first time the United States had defeated a good Italian team containing the three stars of the Blue Group: Benito Garozzo ( who partnered Arturo Franco within Monaco ), Giorgio Belladonna and Pietro Forquet ( who were partners in Monte-carlo ).

Very little later, Paulsen gave up competitive bridge to concentrate on a profession with Rockwell Engineering. In 1972, he married Wujud, and told her that he wanted to retire early. He succeeded in 1987. They moved to Upland, Calif., about 40 miles east of Los Angeles, and Paulsen enjoyed their years playing golf and bridge.

Ada declared that her husband’s strong point was declarer play. An example of that is the diagramed deal, that occurred during a qualifying match in Monaco.

East opened two clubs, showing a long suit as well as 11 to 15 high-card points; Paulsen ( South ) overcalled two hearts; Hugh Ross ( North ) advanced with two spades; South showed his gemstone suit; North raised as well as South bid five expensive diamonds.

West directed a club. East gained with his ace and returned the club queen. Exactly how did Paulsen proceed?

Declarer saw immediately that the deal was setup for a crossruff. South cashed his heart ace, ruffed a heart in the dummy, thrown away a heart on the spade ace and ruffed a spade in his hand.

Now came the essential play: Declarer ruffed a heart with dummy’s diamond ace. ( Note that if he previously ruffed with the jack, Eastern would have overruffed and returned a trump, leaving South with an unavoidable heart loser. )

Declarer then ruffed a spade with his diamond king as well as ruffed his last heart with dummy’s diamond jack port. East overruffed, but Paulsen had the rest with his four high trumps.

Eddie Kantar related a funny story about Paulsen. Soon after winning the Bermuda Bowl, Paulsen went to their bridge club in Downey, Calif. Midway through the night time, Paulsen was bidding spades and his opponents were competing in hearts. But when Paulsen bid three spades, their left-hand opponent doubled.

“Do you know who I am? ” asked Paulsen.

“Yes. ”

“Do you realize how many master points We have? ”

“No, but do you know how many spades I have? ”

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