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From the old days

When I started to play bridge the crowd at the Ithaca Bridge Club was younger. Much younger. There were a few of what would now be called seniors, a lot of working-age stiffs ranging from about 30 to about 50, and a couple of tables of Cornell students. The evening games, Wednesday and Friday (except when there was a tournament), drew some six to nine tables. Eleven or more for the monthly "masterpoint" games. Some people would drive the hour from Corning or half-hour from Cortland for those special events. 

When the game ended, usually around eleven by the time the manual scoring was finished, several people would head over to a nearby bar for food and drink, and postmortems. We all learned a lot from those sessions, particularly from Walt and Dick who were very good players. Walt still is active; Dick retired from bridge about forty years ago but I see him from time to time kibitzing on BBO. 

Anyway, one of the hands I remember because it tormented me for many years was this:

North
7
AJ87432
9
10973
South
A1095
6
A107
AKQ82
W
N
E
S
1
P
1
P
1
P
2
P
2NT
P
4
P
6
P
P
P
 

I was the insouciant seventeen year-old who perpetrated South's auction. So I got to play the hand. West led the Q, and all I could see was to try to take three aces and as many trumps as possible. It did not work. I wound up with eleven tricks. Tying the two people in 3N. The assembled wisdom at the bar couldn't see a way to do better. It took me over twenty years before I figured it out. But I feel sure that the bridgewinners crew will get there much faster. 

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