Kaplan Quotes from the Rama Room
Recorded by Betty Kaplan, Edgar's Boswell
- "I don't know what North was thinking of doing, but
it's just as well he didn't."
- "Now that he's at the six level, he knows no more
than he did before but there's less bidding space for
- "I think he'll keep doubling them until he finally
- "The difference between a brave bid and a foolhardy
bid is largely a matter of result."
- "Have you notice that Chagas has the capacity for
winning a large number of tricks? It's a very useful
attribute for a bridge player."
- "No double, no trouble."
- "That's unfair. North-South were just having a good
time and suddenly East-West turned nasty and
- "North probably felt his high cards (3 points) made
up for his lack of distribution."
- "The Laws should allow a responsive STOP. When your
partner announces STOP, you could say STOP!"
- "That computer has never gone down in its whole
life. It doesn't know the feeling."
- "Four hearts is a very good bid -- but on some other
- "This is a contract that would be justified only by
success -- and I have a feeling that it will not
- "West passed, hoping his partner would double, but
that was too much to hope for in this world. It will
happen all the time in the next world."
- "Even on the vulnerability he might risk bidding
just two spades. Of course, I wouldn't be saying that if
two spades could go down 800."
- "This three notrump is the sort of contract that
Lloyd's of London would insure."
- "A contract becomes ambitious only if declarer makes
it. We have other words for it if it goes down...This
contract went down only one. It was nearly
- "If you average South's bidding on this hand (one
too many) and on the previous hand (one too few), he
comes out just right."
- "When in doubt, put the opponents on lead. Why
should you make the mistake?"
- "Mahmood gave himself some very good advice when he
said STOP. But he paid no attention."
- "It is always a good idea to make only six when
you've missed a grand slam. The opponents don't know how
good a result they have."
- "The computer is living very dangerously
- "He may bid and he may not. I believe that covers
- "If you're a good enough player, you can get away
with making mistakes because nobody will believe
- "If declarer throws even one club from dummy, the
defenders will be in position to make three
- "That's the story of my life -- all my life, I've
been setting up non-working endplays."
- "Declarer could try a non-working squeeze."
- "After all, East-West have a clear majority of the
point count (21)."
- "The defenders made two notrump so it was an
accurate contract -- just played the wrong way."
- "Kehela is not your typical friendly neighborhood
- "His pass over two diamonds was clearly
conservative, but his pass over two hearts was more than
conservative -- it was reactionary."
- "In both rooms, just as East-West were about to go
down one, North came to the rescue. The idea on a hand
like this is to be generous and let your opponents go
- "Well, he underled two aces on the last hand with
ill effect, so this time he'll lead a club from
ten-fourth. Twice burned, once shy."
- "I understand some super-modernists are back to
leading queen from queen-jack. They call it 'reverse
- "The South hand was too weak to pass in the Closed
Room (Polish strong pass) and too strong to pass in the
Open Room (10 points)."
- "He's preserving his options to misguess the
- "In order to let the contract make, the defenders
must lead a spade. No other line of play succeeds."
- "The double squeeze would have given declarer a glow
for the boards to come. This way he just took a finesse
which anyone can do."
- "The first duty of a contract is to make. If it
doesn't make, that's a major flaw."
- "South's bid implied: I have four spades, four
hearts, six clubs and the rest are diamonds."
- "They avoided the trap of bidding a slam on the
second hand to compensate for the one they missed on the
- "South had five hearts and five clubs, but they were
not playing five-card majors so he opened one club."
- "I don't understand how declarer made only five
spades. I understand why he wanted to make only five
spades: It wouldn't be so obvious then that he had missed
- "To teach the opponents not to preempt against you,
you must not only double them, you must also beat
- "Some people bid three notrump over their partner's
three-level suit bids on the theory that it's more
dignified to go down in game."
- "Bad enough when the trumps are 4-1, but when the
singleton gets a ruff, that's an affront."
- "In his three notrump contract, declarer has seven
tricks. One more from heaven makes eight and where
there's eight, there's nine."
- "Twice doubled, twice made. The double seems to be
the Good Housekeeping seal of approval in this
- "I don't think anyone in this tournament can bid
diamonds to show diamonds. We lost the club suit in the
1950s. Now diamonds are gone and hearts are sinking
- "In the Closed Room, the defenders seem to have gone
to sleep with their ace of trumps."
- "Good players guess well on some days and bad
players guess well on some days. But good players guess
well on more days."
- "Everything gets doubled in the Closed Room except
when it goes down."
- "If you want to bid naturally and still sound
modern, just say your bid shows the suit below the suit
above the one you bid."
- "If North had the seven of clubs, declarer would go
down. The trouble is you would have to give North the
seven of clubs in the other room also."
- "Now he has forced North to lead away from his king
of diamonds but unfortunately North didn't have it. It's
called the phantom endplay."
- "His lead was the middle from the top of
- "In the old days, you had to grit your teenth and
pass with the North hand. Now you can make a negative
double with the result that you go down instead of the
- "The computer has just bid a psychic. It shows you
can't even trust a machine nowadays."
- "East is wondering why he didn't pass one spade. So
- "East-West can make a singular number of hearts but
not a plural number."
- "I think Lauria was right. This way, whatever
happens, it's his partner's fault."
- "To open one notrump with a five-card major is not a
misdemeanor but a felony."
- "East's 3H bid on Qxxx shows great fortitude.
Personally, I'd rather have fiveitude."
- "They make a game. It wasn't a good game but still
they won't give it back on that account."
- "Somebody said down one is good bridge. Making is
- "Now his three diamond bid shows a singleton
diamond. When he rebids diamonds, it will confirm a
This originally appeared in the Daily Bulletin in Philadelphia
- "It seems to me you should be able to make more in
an eight-card fit than in a five-card fit. There's no
justice in this world."
- "The best one can say for this contract is that it
has not yet gone down."
- "Defenders hate to lead suits they have bid--they
like to surprise the declarer."
- "Either team can make three notrump so long as they
have the opening lead."
This list appeared in the Daily Bulletin at the Albuquerque
- "The modern fashion in cuebids is not to show
anything in particular but to cast a rosy glow over the
- "Declarer led the ace of trumps and it held. So now
he must reconsider his options."
- "As you can see, neither pair had any difficulty
reaching their 19-point game. The difficulty will come in
- "There are three right plays in bridge--what's
correct on analysis, what works and what I would
- "North obeyed the old rule--if you can't follow
suit, follow color."
- An exchange between commentators Kaplan and Jean Besse
- Besse: "Well, you must do a lot of things
before you can endplay East."
- Kaplan: "Yes, but that's your job, Jean. If
you don't want to do a lot of things, you must
stay in Switzerland."
- "No swing on a board that was touch and go at both
tables. It touched and went."
- "When partner asks for help in a side suit and you
respond positively with three small, it is an insult to
your partner. And if he's well-built and hefty, it is a
poor idea to insult him."
- "I think this hand should be played the way my
mother would play it--take your nine tricks." (When
this is what declarer actually did, Edgar remarked,
"Yes he's playing it the maternal way.")"
- "I know people who could go down on this hand, but I
don't believe any of them are here."
- "The only Americans who would get to six hearts on
that hand are sitting in the audience, so no fear."
- "As long as the king is in the same place at the
other table, you don't have to worry. It's when the king
jumps from the West hand to the East hand that you must
- "To equal the result in the other room, he needs 16
- "It's a question of intent: if you have a problem,
you must think. If you hesitate to fool your opponent,
that is unethical. If your heart is pure, your ethics are
- "North doubled four hearts to tell himself what to
- "He has left himself no flexibility. He can no
longer go down."
- "The Closed Room is playing faster than the Open
Room. They have easier hands in there."
- "It is well-known that in third seat, you must have
13 cards to open the bidding."
- "The number of players who enjoy doubling the
opponents into game can be counted on one toe."
- "It does seem a little hard to sit here criticizing
a man who has just collected 1100."
This list appeared in the Daily Bulletin at the Albuquerque
A story of Edgar Kaplan's is mentioned by Jerry Machlin in his
autobiography. EK is playing in the Life Master Individual (at
the time a prestige event) and playing against a player seems to
have lucked into her Life Master status. Being normally very easy
going he says nothing after a disaster on the first hand. After
the second hand she puts her hand down with the comment, "I
didn't know what to do, I had 14 points". Edgar replies
"My fault madam, I thought you had 300."
Edgar's long-time partner, Norman Kay, was a very deliberate
player. As Edgar was fond of writing, "Every time Norman
starts to think, I know we're about to win 10 IMPs." It is
said that not long ago, after Edgar had become ill with cancer,
the two were playing, and Norman was taking quite a long time
before making a play. Edgar finally grumbled "God almighty,
Norman, play a card!" Norman slowly turned his wrist, looked
at his watch, and said "Why, are we under time
pressure?" Edgar leaned over slightly and said "In case
you haven't noticed, I am!"