Eric's Wonderful Idea by Ron Klinger

The Rabbi peered through his front curtains. "At last Eric is here," he said. "Three bridge players on time and one late is no better than all four being late, I always say." 

A somewhat breathless Eric was admitted to the front porch. "Late again, I know," he said. "I was collecting a donation from Mrs Liebermann. If she has one clever son to tell me about, she has ten clever sons. It's a miracle I got away at all."   The Rabbi smiled. "As long as she made the donation," he said. "That's the important thing."

Play started in spectacular fashion, the Rabbi reaching a grand slam on the very first hand.
            ,
            S  AKQ52         Love all
            H  AJ            Dlr South
            D  A74
            C  A62
S  T83                  S  J974
H  754                  H  62
D  T85                  D  KJ93
C  J984                 C  KT5
            S  6
            H  KQT983
            D  Q62
            C  Q73

West     North    East    South
Eric  David      Sam   The Rabbi
                          2H
Pass    5NT      Pass     7H

The Rabbi opened with a weak two and David Steinberg, a 38-year-old accountant who had only recently taken up the game made an immediate 5NT response. This was a grand slam try asking the Rabbi to go to seven if he had two of the three top trump honours. The Rabbi bid an obedient seven hearts and this call concluded a swift auction.   Eric Simons, a 49-year-old whose bad luck had lasted almost half a century, surveyed his depressing hand. Perhaps he would have done better to spend the afternoon listening to Mrs Liebermann.

 "Ah well, lead a trump, they say," he observed, tossing H  4 on to the table.   "This should be child's play, Rabbi," declared David, facing his dummy proudly. "Six hearts, five spades and two aces. Even my wife would make that add up to thirteen."

The Rabbi turned his thoughts to the play. If spades were 4-3, he could establish a twelfth trick in that suit. Could he then manage a simple squeeze in the minors? It seemed not. After cashing the spades there would be no entry to the South hand to run the trump suit.

"Was my arithmetic wrong, Rabbi?" enquired David, surprised at the delay.

"It was faultless," replied the Rabbi. "But perhaps you were adding the wrong numbers."

The Rabbi won the lead with dummy's ace of hearts and cashed the two minor-suit aces. He then ran the trump suit, leading to this end position:      

         S  AKQ52
         H  -
         D  7
         C  -
S  T              S  J974
H  -              H  -
D  T8             D  K
C  J98            C  K
         S  6
         H  9
         D  Q6
         C  Q7

On the last trump a diamond was thrown from dummy. Sam Feldmann, president of the synagogue, seemed reluctant to part with a card in the East seat. His eventual choice was the king of clubs. The Rabbi now led the queen of clubs.

"What are you doing to me, Rabbi?" exclaimed Sam, resplendent in his expensive suit. "Is it good manners to invite someone into your house and treat him like this?"

"Is a man not allowed to cash his winners?" replied the Rabbi.         With the air of a man surrendering his last shekel, Sam placed the king of diamonds on the table. The Rabbi now cashed the diamond queen and claimed the contract.
     
"I knew today would be a bad day," sighed Eric. "Only one jack I hold and they make a grand slam."

 "You had too little and I had too much," observed Sam, with a philosophical spread of the hands. "In the end I could not hold it all."     David entered the score on his pad, then leant forward. "I heard a nice joke for your collection, Rabbi," he said. "Stop me if you know it."  

Two children were playing by a river," started David, "when their small poodle dog fell in and was swept away by the current."  "Yes," said the Rabbi, nodding encouragingly.

"A passing Rabbi saw the incident," continued David. "He jumped in, swam ashore with the dog, and began to give it mouth-to-mouth resuscitation."

Sam exhaled distastefully. "More than I would do," he declared. "The two children came rushing up," continued David. "One of them says to the Rabbi, 'Are you a vet?'."  

David looked round at his colleagues, who were listening intently.     "'Am I vet, you say?' exclaimed the Rabbi? 'I am soaking!' "

"Oy veh, excellent!" declared the Rabbi. "One of your better ones.

(To read the rest of Eric's Wonderful Idea, you will need to acquire a copy of KOSHER BRIDGE. Also available : KOSHER BRIDGE #2)

The Players from Kosher Bridge

The Rabbi  
A fine dummy player with an incurable tendency to overbid. Captain of the synagogue team.
Eric
Treasurer of the synagogue and the Rabbi's partner. A cautious player with a life-long history of bad luck at rubber bridge.
The Cantor 
A moderate player who is much hen-pecked by his wife and partner, Miriam.
Sam
President of the Synagogue, he has an inflated opinion of his own play and a marked intolerance for the play of others.
David
A somewhat nervous accountant who has only recently taken up the game.
Miriam
A player with little technical knowledge, but a fine instinct for the game. Her sharp tongue is aimed indiscriminately at all around her.
Judith
A strong player and Miriam's main rival in the ladies' camp.
Beckie
Eric's wife, a social bridge player who can remember nothing of a hand once it is played.
Rachel
David's wife, a trendy dresser who, like Beckie, views bridge as an opportunity to meet her friends.