Bridge: Y’s year-long contest racing to a close
The YWCA duplicate’s annual “Player of the Year” contest moved into its final month of play this week with perennial champion Terry Lubman once again well out in front of a field of 64 players who had participated in at least 12 games since the first of the year.With just three games remaining on the calendar, Lubman’s average percentage score stood at 62.3 for 27 outings, as compared to 60.6 percent for runner-up Jay Force in 13 games. Lois Spagna was third with 58.9 for 30 appearances, followed by Mary Scarfi, 58.6 for 34, and Sharon Santow, 57.9 for 33.Rounding out the top 10 in the contest, for which anyone who plays in at least 15 games during the year is automatically eligible, were: sixth, Jerry Jacobs, 57.7 percent; seventh, Susan Vock, 57.6; eighth, Leia Berla, 57.4; ninth, Eleanor Gimon, 57.3; and tied for tenth, Joanne Kuebler and Hollister Sturges, 56.4.Today’s quiz: This week we begin a new series on the standard bridge tactic of balancing. Because many players are not very familiar with this subject, the following introductory article is presented this week, with regular quizzes starting next week.Balancing is based on the sound principle that when one side stops bidding at a low level, thereby denying values for game, their opponents can often make a partscore, or at least compete for one, without fear of suffering a sizable set. Indeed, it is not uncommon for the side that did not open the bidding to have more points between them than the side that did.However, it is often not until the opposing bidding dies that this becomes apparent. When it does, the player who has heard his right-hand opponent pass must assess the situation and decide whether or not to sell out. In such circumstances, the player in the pass-out seat (the “balancer”) is permitted to make an overcall, a takeout double or bid one notrump with three or four less points than normally required.The safest times to balance are a) when the opponents have found a fit and then stopped bidding, making it very likely that your side has a fit somewhere, or b) when an opening one-bid has been passed by the opener’s partner. Of the two, the latter is more dangerous, since opener may have a better contract elsewhere and the balancing bid allows him another chance to find it. But bridge is not a game for pessimists, and in the long run, it pays to bid in close situations even though you may occasionally be sorry you did.The week’s duplicate results:Greenwich YWCA weekly open duplicate: North-South, 1. Gordon Mackenzie-Lola Meyers, 2. Carol Febles-Howard Truss, 3. Jerry Jacobs-Susan Vock, 4. Doris Greenwald-Terry Lubman, 5. Judy Crystal-Barbie McKelvey; East-West, 1. Kathleen Francis-Leslie Petrick, 2. Carole Greenberg-Lucy Rosen, 3. Sonia Kingshott-Linda Munger, 4. Carole Hue-Barbara Thompson, 5. Wayne De Vries-Martin Waine.