Mark Horton

Top stars in Bridge and Golf

Bridge and golf go naturally together and a lot of world class bridge players are keen golfers. Jeff Meckstroth might well have pursued a professional career in the game and the same is true of England’s Tony Forrester. Zia is known to be passionate about the game.

Not many people know that a number of outstanding golfers relax by playing bridge. One example is Jesper Parnevik, while another is American sporting icon Arnold Palmer who combines good playing technique with the essential element of table presence that makes you realise why he was always considered to be one of the best golfers when it came to psychology.

Take a look at this deal played at Palmer’s golf club in Bay Hill Orlando, USA.

Dealer: South

Vul: North/South

West East
8532 974
K62 1054
K632 975
76 10543
West North East South: Palmer

Pass 2 Pass 3
Pass 4 Pass 4NT
Pass 5 Pass 7NT!!
All Pass

Driving to the game’s ultimate contract was something of a long shot with just 11 tricks on top. If that is par, then Arnie had to go two better, skip the putting and achieve an eagle!

His table feeling helped him to the successful line in the play. West hesitated before making his final pass, and Palmer decided that the reason had to be that he held the two missing red kings.

Without this information he would have played East for the king of diamonds as a successful diamond finesse ensures thirteen tricks while a heart finesse only gives twelve unless West has a doubleton king of hearts.

At the same time maybe Palmer could not resist the temptation to make a spectacular stroke at the bridge table just as in golf!

He won the club lead and cashed the diamond ace (Vienna Coup) and eight more black tricks. Before playing the last one the position was:

West East
K 6 2 10 5 4
K 97
10 4

The spade ten destroyed West. He let go the two of hearts, South discarded the queen of diamonds from dummy and made the last three tricks in hearts with a first round finesse.

1 Comment

Nigel KearneySeptember 13th, 2009 at 9:02 am

Nice hand, but not a Vienna Coup.

Typically in a Vienna Coup, you cash a high card in the same hand as the two card menace, leaving a one card menace in the opposite hand, thereby allowing either opponent to be squeezed, not just one. These elements aren’t present here and the squeeze works just the same without cashing AD.

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