Last week I wrote about unfortunate choices at the bridge table. This hand offers a more inspiring theme because it is the story of a hand I played with Allan Fredland. He is a friend of 80-plus years of age who is determined to improve his bridge game, and who bravely plays against all comers of any talent. He is the epitome of an optimist, and we are privileged at the club to have him in our group. This story is also about the youth-preserving qualities of our game because one of the opposite players on this hand recently celebrated her 91st birthday.
I sat west and had a bare opener of 1 club on this hand of only 11 high card points. The length and quality of the club suit makes it worth an opening bid, but as the auction proceeded, I could only rebid the suit to show a minimum hand. As we kept bidding over interference in the red suits by south, Allan concluded that his hand was worth a raise to small slam in spite of holding only 3 small trumps, and his judgment was well rewarded when in fact I was able to make 12 tricks easily. Because I could draw all the outstanding trumps and set up the spades for a heart discard, there was only one heart loser. In a field of eight other pairs who played the hand, not a single pair bid the slam and we got a complete top, thanks to Allan's bid.
Last week we played in the President's Day Sectional Tournament, and we will have some interesting hands to write about in coming weeks, as well as a list of winners. The Junior Knockouts, a team event for less experienced players, was a bid hit with an almost-record entry thanks to the huge effort by Art Crawford to recruit teams. Those players hope to emulate him as the Louise Fritz trophy winner, presented to the new player who wins the most master points in the first year.