Sad passing of bridge stalwart, who set example to all
It is with a heavy heart that I report the passing of Henry Francis, president Emeritus of the International Bridge Press Association and ACBL Bridge Bulletin Editor for nearly three decades. Henry was a fixture at our Bermuda Regional for some two decades where he agreed to edit our bulletin on which he did a wonderful job. He was inducted into the Bridge Hall of Fame in 2003.
I worked closely with Henry for years and learnt a ton from him — he went about everything in a calm, organised manner and treated everyone equally.
It is tough to think of a nicer person I have met in the shark-infested waters of competitive bridge.
He really set an example for us all and his memory will linger on for some time. He had a great innings as he was 91 this year and he spread a lot of joy in that time.
On this week’s hand declarer had to depart from the obvious line of play due to West finding a potentially “killer lead” and he responded really well.
N/S Vul, Dealer South
South opened a Heart and North made, in my view, an excellent bid of a forcing NT, which would allow partner to make a descriptive bid if he had a good shapely hand and some strength. When South responded with an uninteresting 2 Club bid North just signed off in 4 Hearts.
It is an excellent contract and on any lead but a trump is an easy make — declarer tries a Spade to the Queen and even if this loses to the King, he has control of the trump suit and can ruff a Spade, losing just two Hearts and a Spade.
The reason the hand is in this column, however, is because West found the one lead to give declarer a problem — a trump! I am a big fan of trump leads when no other lead leaps out at me — the opponents are usually playing in a suit contract because they want some ruffs, and repeated trump leads often cause declarer problems.
East played the Jack of trumps, which declarer ducked, but he had to win when East continued trump.
He now played the hand really well — he cashed the Diamond Ace, Club to dummy, Diamond ruff, Club to dummy, Diamond ruff, Club to dummy and a third Diamond ruff with his last trump in this position:
Declarer now had eight tricks — one Heart, one Diamond, three Clubs and three Diamond ruffs — he now cashed the Spade Ace and played the Club Jack.
East was dead — if he didn’t ruff that was the tenth trick, and if he did the lowly 4 of Hearts becomes the tenth trick. Beautiful.
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3. Patricia Colmet/Russell Craft 3. Barbara Cerra/Pat Cerra
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