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Remembering My Dad
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Last week was the 50th anniversary of my dad's passing. This Wednesday I get to say "Yiskor" for him at synagogue during the Yom Kippur services.

As a young teenager, I played and discussed a lot of bridge with him. Here's a hand he told me about, that he played before I was born in the Asbury Park convention center, where many national tournaments were held. He was East, and Sam Stayman, my future partner, when I was 25, was sitting South. Here is the hand from Sam's perspective.

North
1093
K93
K10653
A9
South
AK8
AQ54
A8
10876
W
N
E
S
1NT
P
3NT
P
P
P

Sam as South opened one notrump and his partner bid three notrump. My dad's partner, Dick Henry, a physics professor, led the 2. My dad asked me how I would play it.

North
1093
K93
K10653
A9
South
AK8
AQ54
A8
10876
W
N
E
S
1NT
P
3NT
P
P
P

I answered that I could win in dummy and play on diamonds, but another idea was to win the ace and play back a club. Let them cash three club winners and maybe West will help me at trick five. Then a squeeze might develop as well. "That's a good line of play," said my dad, smiling broadly. "That's exactly what Mr. Stayman did." Then he showed me the full hand:

West
J762
J872
J972
2
North
1093
K93
K10653
A9
East
Q54
106
Q4
KQJ543
South
AK8
AQ54
A8
10876
W
N
E
S
1NT
P
3NT
P
P
P
D
3NT South
NS: 0 EW: 0

"What?" I exclaimed.

"I almost fell off my chair," said my dad, who had been sitting East and cashed five club tricks to set the contract.

"What did Mr. Stayman say?"

"He remained calm and turned to my partner, Mr. Henry, and said 'nice lead'."

On a similar note, I once went to a Yankee game with my dad and we sat in left field. Rocky Colavito was playing left field for the Cleveland Indians. In the first few innings when he trotted out to left field, all the Yankee fans booed. Then when he got up to bat in the fourth, he hit a homerun into left field, right near us! When he next came out to left field, everyone stood up and applauded him, and he took off his cap and bowed. I was ten, and complained to my dad, "Why is everyone applauding him? He's the opposition." My dad said, "Whenever someone makes a great play, you have to give him credit."

-----------

Matthew Granovetter can be reached through his website Bridgetoday.com.

May you be sealed for a good and sweet year.

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