Both vulnerable. North deals.


xK 9 6 3

u9 8

vA K J 10 9

wQ 5


x8 5 2 xQ 10 7

u2 uQ 7 6 4

vQ 8 6 2 v7 5 3

wJ 8 7 6 4 w10 9 3


xA J 4

uA K J 10 5 3


wA K 2

The bidding:


1v Pass 2u Pass

2x Pass 3w Pass

3NT Pass 7u Pass

Pass Pass

Opening lead: Six of w

We must set the scene. It was the semifinal of the 1943 Spingold Team Championship in New York. At the halfway point of one of the matches, a team captained by Jigger Dornbusch was trailing a powerful squad led by Howard Schenken by more than 1,000 points (in those days scoring was by total points). Spearheaded by Dick Frey and Lee Hazen, the Dornbusch team had staged a tremendous rally, but the match was crawling along at a snail’s pace. With one board to play Frey announced that he had to leave to make the last train home to Great Neck, so captain Dornbusch was pressed into service to play the last board.

Unaware that his team was back in the match and thinking that his team needed a large swing to win, Dornbusch pressed on to a grand slam in hearts on this, the final hand. All the tricks were there for the taking provided declarer took a first-round heart finesse — the percentage play with a 6-2 fit. Unfortunately Dornbusch first cashed a high heart and could no longer avoid losing a trump trick for down one.

When scores were compared, Dornbusch was stunned to learn that, had he been content to play a partscore in hearts, his team would have won! Known for always doing the right thing, Dornbusch offered to jump out the window! A team meeting resolved to reject the offer — after all, Dornbusch did not know the state of the match when he had to enter the fray. The four players reconvened, however, and because of Frey’s precipitate departure, by a 3-1 vote decided to accept a similar offer from Frey should it be tendered. It never was!

2012 Tribune Media Services

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