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“On Advice from Mothers” — Bridge Column, 25 May 1967

Here's "On Advice from Mothers", my father's bridge column from May 25, 1967.  I'm able to follow most of this, although the nuances of doubles and duplicate bridge are a little beyond me.  (NB, the crack about North Dakota is heartfelt; we spent two years in Minot when Dad was in the Air Force, ending less than four years before this column came out.)

* * * * *

On Advice from Mothers

By Jerome J. Schneyer, M.D.

Southfield News

(May 25, 1967)

Once upon a time, there was a poor but honest boy named Jack, who, having demonstrated his bridge supremacy in his home town of Flouridation, North Dakota, set out to make his mark in the big wide world of bridge players. Jack had a kindly (aren't they all?) mother, who gave him this parting advice: "Jack, always trust people; the best in human nature will shine through." Very sweet. She can play bridge against me anytime.


K 6

A 10 9 8 5

K Q 6 2

4 2


  Q J 10 5


  8 7 3

  A Q J 8 5

East (Jack)

  A 9 7 4 2

  K 3

  A 9 4

  K 9 3


  8 3

  Q J 7 4 2

  J 10 5

  10 7 6

Duplicate bridge                                 N         E         S          W

Both vulnerable                                 1        dbl       2        dbl

North deals                                        pass     pass     3        pass    

                                                         pass     dbl       pass     pass


Opening lead: A

Jack hated to overcall on such a shaky space suit in the East seat and, besides, he had a textbook takeout double. South, the deceptive wretch, realized that, unless his partner's opening bid were very strong, and possible even then, East-West must have a cinch game in spades. Holding such wonderful heart support and no defensive values at all, he could afford to jazz up the bidding a bit; so he made a jump bid to 2♠ on a holding of 8-3 doubleton, just like he had it.

West naturally doubled this bid and, when the bidding came around to south again, he "rescued" himself to 3. Now West hated to bid clubs at the four level, so he passed the 3bid around to his partner, feeling that good old Jack would not forget his previous double.

The decision was in good hands: sure enough, Jack remembered that West had doubled 2♠ but, on looking at his own spade length, Jack figured that the double had been based on generally distributed strength. He remembered his mother's advice and trusted South's bidding implicitly, figuring South for something like K-Q-x-x-x of spades and Q-x-x of hearts. In any event, it was obvious that East-West had a misfit and that the opponents were never going to make 3. Decision made. . . "Double!" from Jack.

He was right, too. Three hearts went down one for 200 points to East-West and Jack was preening himself for heeding his mother when West drily pointed out that this penalty was hardly compensation for a vulnerable game, to say nothing of the ice-cold slam that East-West had missed. Poor Jack! To this day, he doesn't trust anyone, including his mother.

Shed a tear for Jack. Better bridge players than he have been talked out of contracts before this. Jack's trouble was that he placed too much faith in the opponents' bidding. Always remember that those guys are going to be giving you very little; they're out for themselves, drat 'em. In a situation like this, believe your partner; if he doubles the opponents' bid when logic tells you that he can't possibly have their suit, somebody is trying to pull a fast one and it's probably NOT your partner; he's on your side (it says here).


Here's the column in its original published form:

On Advice from Mothers 25 May 1967 (cropped)




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