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All comments by Henry Bethe
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Tell me, Kit. Is partner permitted to be 2-4-5-2 for 1D-1H-2H; say Kx, Axxx, KQxxx, xx? or even 2-4-4-3, with the same high cards (perhaps including the 10? All of your example hands had short(ish) diamonds, making the J less useful.
Nov. 22, 2010
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I first met Tom in the spring of 1965. He had returned to Cornell after several years in the army. I had come up to Ithaca forSpring Break. He and I decided to go to the Canadian Nationals. On the way up we discussed two relatively new conventions: negative doubles and Astro. We checked into the Royal York and went to play. In the afternoon session we had a decent game, about 190, but behind Eric Murray and Sammi Kehela, who were the top seed in our section. In the evening we sat down with Bobby Freedman of Buffalo and Alvin Landy, then the management head of the ACBL. After we duplicated the boards, we were told to move before playing, and Landy was up out of his chair screaming for the director. “You mean we don't get to start against these two Palookas,” he asked. Since Landy was in a way his boss, the director said in his most soothing voice, “Don't worry, Al. We have thirteen others for you, starting with these.” He ushered Eric and Sammi to the seats we had just vacated.
We were having a decent game when we had the following auction against a pretty good player from Rochester. 1 by me, 2 by LHO, Double by Tom, pass. I was 5-4-0-4 with a dead minimum. They were vul, we weren't. I forgot. I passed. Tom led the J. Dummy came down with KQ doubleton and not much else. Declarer looked at our convention card. “Do you play negative doubles?” In a very small voice I answered “Yes, sir.” Tom had forgotten also, having doubled on J109876 and some outside high cards. When the smoke cleared declarer was down 800. “Well,” said declarer, “I don't think you two know enough to cheat, and I got what I deserved for overcalling on that suit.”
When the event was over we thought we had a pretty good game, but the scores took forever. I mean forever. We, and everybody else, were getting gradually drunk. There was a commoner's hospitality suite – where we were – and a VIP suite. Finally they finished and Maury Braunstein came in with the scores to the VIP suite. Landy spoke up. “Did we win?”
“No, fourth.” Landy pointed at Murray. “Did the big Canuck win?”
“No, second.”
“So who won?” Braunstein grinned. “You know those two palookas you didn't get to play?”
Landy's wail could have been heard in Buffalo.

Anyway, Tom and I were friendly acquaintances, never close, but always friends for the next 45 years. He was my Best Man, the Godfather to my son, and my teammate for three straight wins in the NY Reisinger.

I will miss him.
Nov. 18, 2010

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