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MAD BRIDGE 13: Sterling Opponents

The next round of the Los Angeles Bridge Week Mixed Pairs saw Peggy and Draper facing a striking pair: A man with black hair so thick and dark that Peggy suspected a toupee, along with deeply suntanned skin stretched taut over high cheekbones under dark aviator-style sunglasses, and clothes that seemed right out of a Rodeo Drive designer shop, accompanied by stunning, much younger-looking blonde.

 

Still shaken by their upsetting experience with the German doctors, Peggy tried her best to be pleasant. “It's so nice to see a father playing with his daughter,” she smiled. “Did you teach her the game.”

 

Donnie, an older gentleman seemed slightly embarrassed. “She's not my daughter,” he said. “I build houses in the Valley, and V is my sales manager.”

 

V herself was not taken aback. “But Donnie did teach me bridge, didn't you? She clutched the older man's hand. “He said running around with basketball players was way over my head. (Small giggle). And,” she added. “Donnie's a great bridge teacher. He also taught the game to my sisters W, X and Y. Would you believe it, Y already has 10 Master Points.”

 

Her sister might have the points, but V was certainly a gifted student, as she proved on this board:

 

Donnie
K7
Q10652
5
108742
Peggy
Q1084
874
KQ9
AQ5
V
A65
A3
732
KJ963
Don Draper
J932
KJ9
AJ10864
W
N
E
S
1
1
P
2
P
2
P
4
P
P
P
D
4 South
NS: 0 EW: 0

 

V opened the bidding with 1, Draper put in a 1 overcall, Donnie passed when he well might have raised clubs, and Peggy looked at her hand. She had 13 big ones, maybe the best hand at the table, but what was she to do? She thought about bidding no-trump with her likely double club stopper, then remembered that Draper's overcalls were often as bold as his business decisions and decided on a slightly more conservative path: 2, a cue bid which she hoped indicated general strength and no idea of where to go.

She was both relieved at not being forced to play what might be a risky no-trump contract and overjoyed to hear her partner, who was also her boss and mentor (and from the look in his eyes might have other things in mind as well), bid spades as his second suit, and she raised to the spade game.

 

Donnie, who clearly was far older than he was trying to appear, led a small heart, won by V's ace. She returned the suit and Draper, not wanting to risk a finesse that seemed pretty certain to lose, won the K. Entering dummy with a diamond to the king, he discarded his losing J on the club ace and led a small spade to his nine and Donnie's king.

 

The older gent made the winning play without hesitation -- a low heart, even though the queen was high. Since partner could surely count, she knew that South had no hearts left. But would she do the right thing?

 

It took a minute, then two. Finally, V's face brightened as she extracted the A from her hand and placed it on the table, then returned a diamond to give partner the ruff and the setting trick.

 

"Nice defense," said Draper, nodding in the direction of the woman on his right. "It demonstrates that your partner is a very good teacher."

 

V giggled. "I'd have to say he's worth his weight in silver, sterling silver," she said, as her partner blushed.

 

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