The Salina Journal Entertainment Sunday, Feb. 2,1986 Page 3 1 Use statistics to solve problems with a short suit Bridge By ALFRED SHEINWOLD Los Angeles Times When you know that your partner is leading a short suit, how do you know whether he started with a singleton or with a doubleton? The simplest method is to guess. If you're a good guesser, your partners will speak well of you. You must solve your problem by statistics. Doubletons are far more common that singletons. If you treat all short suit leads as doubletons, you'll be right more often than wrong. This won't help you when it turns out that your partner did indeed lead a singleton, but nobody is perfect. If you're not overburdened with ethics, you can often tell by how quickly your partner led the suit. If he leads without hesitation, he has a singleton. If he thinks for 20 seconds before leading, he has a doubleton. Judging on that basis will get you thrown out of some of the best bridge clubs in the world. That very problem arose a few months ago in the 1985 World Championship. South was playing to the hand at four hearts, and West led a spade in response to his partner's opening bid. East won the first trick with the ace of spades and returned a low diamond. Dummy had six diamonds headed by the K-Q-J. West took the ace of diamonds and had to decide whether his partner had led a singleton or the top of a doubleton. As it happened, East had communed with himself for about 30 seconds before leading the diamond, and West switched to clubs, defeating the contract. If West had continued diamonds, South would have made the contract. South filed a protest with the appeals committee. He'd have won his case with ease NORTH *K954 S7Q84 OK6 *AQ75 WEST 462 <?A10752 OJ84 + J109 EAST *AQ3 SOUTH 4J1087 OQ10732 4842 OA95 + K63 North East South West 14 Pass 14 Pass 24 Pass 2NT Pass 44 All Pass Opening lead-- * J North dealer; both sides vulnerable. because a world-class player is not allowed to choose a line of play that "could" have been suggested , by a marked hesitation or other mannerism. But South withdrew the protest because his team was far ahead in the match and he didn't want to be unpleasant. This may sound strange to the rubber bridge player who has never heard of such fine ethical points or of appeals committees. The basic idea is that you shouldn't rely on your partner's acting ability to solve your bridge problems. Rely on bridge logic, as West did in today's hand. (I'll bet you thought I'd never get to it.) South took the first trick with the king of clubs and led the jack of spades for a finesse. East won with the queen of spades and returned the nine of hearts. South put up the king of hearts, and West had his little problem to solve: Had East started with a singleton or with a doubleton in hearts? If East had started with a singleton, it was up to West to take his ace and return the suit at once. But if East had started with a doubleton, West should play an encouraging card, such as the seven or even the ten. East would get in with the ace of spades (which South's line of play indicated that East held) and lead his other heart, whereupon West would take his ace and lead a third heart for East to ruff. The problem is clear enough. How does West solve it by bridge logic? West can tell from the bidding and from the fact that East is looking for a heart ruff that South started with only four spades and East with three. If East started with a singleton heart, South held four hearts. In that case, at his first turn, South would respond one heart rather than one spade. Since South didn't bid one heart, he doesn't have four hearts. Therefore East cannot have a singleton heart. West plays the ten of hearts on South's king and sits back. South must lead another trump. East takes the ace of trumps and returns his low heart. West wins and leads a third heart, whereupon East's ruff is the setting trick. The hand is not necessarily over if South is a cantankerous soul. He may say bitterly: "I suppose you'd have refused that first heart trick if your partner had led his nine like a flash. After he'd huddled for an hour before the leading the nine of hearts, everybody in the room knew he wasn't leading a singleton." If you have indeed solved your problem by relying on your partner's hesitation, you have no answer. All you can do is (a) blush hotly (typical ladylike response), (b) get up from the table and offer to punch South in the nose (typical macho response), or (c) point out that you and your partner have solemnly agreed never to be in- fluenced by how long it takes to lead or play a card. (Don't laugh. This explanation was offered by the player who switched to clubs in the protested world championship hand). You're in an unassailable position, however, if you have solved your problem by logic. You give your reasoning, and even the suspicious oaf in the South seat must admit that you were 100 percent right. You smile Page excited about latest film role BEVERLY HILLS, Calif. (AP) — Geraldine Page has a losing streak that most of her colleagues might envy: She has lost more Oscars than any other actress in Academy Award history. Yet, the Mis-aSfT.-v ""'**-•' souri-bom act-1 ress says she? always knew! she wasn't go-i ing to win. "It was wonderful just to sit there and enjoy being nomi- Page nated, which is honor enough. I was saved the embarrassment and danger of getting up and giving a speech which nobody would like anyway," said Page, who has been nominated seven tunes. "If it was too brief, it would offend the people I didn't mention. If it was too long, the audience would get bored. The only safe thing is to thank everyone you've ever known. No way. The. best thing would be just to forget it." She believes she was present at all seven Oscar shows (she is tied for the dubious record with Peter O'Toole and Richard Burton). At least she remembers the ceremonies for each of her nominations, beginning in 1953 with 'Hondo" and continuing through "The Sweetbird of Youth," "Summer and Smoke," "Pete 'n' Tilly," "You're a Big Boy Now," "Interiors" and last year's "The Pope of Greenwich Village." Now the Hollywood crowd is betting that Page will be nomi- sweetly, tell him to forget it, and you thus earn a reputation as a good player and a lady (or gent). LIVE ENTERTAINMENT NIGHTLY Monday thru Sutnrthn «2I \AVstport Hlvd. " "Ourousel Works For You!" Phon* Ahead For Appointment 625-1915 Location: 2420 S 91h St. ' Store Hours: Mon.-Sot. 9 am-9 pm Sunday 12-6 pm Shop Hours: Mon.-Sat 8 am-6 pm Prices Good Feb. 2 Ihru Feb. 8. 1986 Wiper Delay •Solid state variable speed control •Fits all cars and trucks •No. 7101 nated for the eighth time next month. She has been the subject of rave reviews for her performance in "The Trip to Bountiful," the new film based on Horton Foote's 1953 television play which he later adapted to the stage. "Wait till you see this role!" she said. "It is a dream!" She plays a Texas widow with a fierce determination to return to her beginnings in the small town of Bountiful. Is it the best role she has ever had? "I can't say that," she replied. 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