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Gordon Robinson | Let’s cross this bridge now!

Published:Tuesday | June 14, 2016 | 6:00 AM

After high school, Gene Autry and I turned to bridge. We played weekly rubber-bridge at rotating homes of bridge-playing friends, most of whom were decades older than we. In addiction-speak, bridge is to golf as cocaine is to caffeine, so it wasn't unusual for us to start playing Friday evening and end Sunday night.

Sitting South (vulnerable) during an elongated weekend game against 'Batroc' (a genius at trash-talking we nicknamed 'Batroc the Lip' after Marvel's French super villain, 'Batroc the Leaper') and his partner 'Wyatt Earp' (he labelled our games 'Gunfights at OK Corral'), I drew the following motley collection:

S-82

H-7

D-QJ9875

C-AKJ8

Autry (North) dealt and bid 1 Heart. Batroc (East; non-vulnerable), never shy, overcalled 2 Spades (weak). We were playing a simple bidding system, so I dived in with 3 Diamonds; Earp bid 3S, to which Autry countered loudly "kmt; 5D!" Batroc passed and I stopped to think. I had more than I'd promised while Gene's rebid in a competitive auction marked him with better than a minimum hand.

WTH, I muttered to myself, we've already committed the cardinal sin ("Minor suits are for Muggies!"), what's one more trick? I bid 6D only to hear the dreaded 'Double' from Wyatt Earp, who led three of spades. Autry (aka 'Dummy') put these down:

S-A

H-AKJ52

D-A432

C-764

I considered my options. Batroc obviously held six spades likely headed by two honours. Earp's low spade lead strongly suggested he held king or queen. Earp could've doubled with King of trumps, expecting me to hold the Ace, but, at this level of bridge (expert), it was far more likely he was 'protecting' partner's hoped-for trump honour (singleton king/doubleton queen?) trying to trick me into finessing trumps into Batroc's hand.

 

RENDERED IRRELEVANT

 

Unlikely Batroc held KJ spades; K of trumps AND Queen of hearts because Earp would've doubled with only one working card (Q Clubs) and enlarged, armour-plated testicles. I decided Batroc, famous for his 'light' overcalls, was the weak one with probably only K trumps/Q Spades for his bid. If hearts broke 4-3, I could sluff two losing clubs and (maybe) only concede King of trumps, BUT a 5-2 heart break (likely on the bidding) would be dangerous. I couldn't cash the AK of hearts to see if Batroc had queen doubleton because, if Wyatt was the culprit, it'd be too late to pick up those important club discards. I'd be forced to finesse clubs into the Doubler's hand.

BUT if Batroc had six spades and K doubleton trump, he couldn't possibly have five hearts. In fact, it was far more likely Earp was sitting behind me with five hearts to the queen and devilish intentions.

I decided Earp MUST hold either Q of Hearts or K of Diamonds for his double. I confidently called for the ace of spades (Batroc played nine); followed by a low club to my ace (opponents following low) after which came my singleton 7 of Hearts (Earp contributed the 3), to dummy's jack, while Autry fixed me with a glare that suggested I'd better be on a flight to Alaska if this didn't work.

I was home after both followed to the ace of trumps and I'd cashed AK of hearts, ditching my two losing clubs without incident.

K of trumps was rendered irrelevant. If Batroc produced Queen of hearts, I'd return to hand and finesse Earp for King of trumps. If Batroc held BOTH cards, I'd congratulate Earp for a brilliant double with nothing and board that plane to Alaska.

The full deal looked like this:

North (Autry)

S-A

H-AKJ52

D-A432

C764

West (Wyatt Earp)

S-K1043

H-Q10983

D-6

C-Q52

East (Batroc)

S-QJ9765

H-64

D-K10

C-1093

South

S-82

H-7

D-QJ9875

C-AKJ8

If I'd taken the lazy line (ruffing hearts), I lose a club and a trump. I had to take a radical view based on the historical evidence (bidding) and opponents' styles.

Young Andrew has a similar hand to play. All the evidence is clear. Either he learns from history and chooses a radical line or Team Jamaica goes down to defeat, just as it has, year in, year out, for decades.

We've tried everything Westminster has offered but been trounced every time by corruption, political mismanagement and tribalism. This time, let's take a bold line of play based on logic/reasoning. Let's restructure Jamaica's Constitution to provide checks and balances against corruption and abolish tribalism for truly national imperatives - health, security, education and infrastructural development.

Peace and love.

- Gordon Robinson is an attorney-at-law. Email feedback to columns@gleanerjm.com