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Bob's Senior Moment

by Peggy Kaplan

Bob Hamman won his first NABC title – the Reisinger – in 1962. Since then, Bob has collected a frighteningly large number of NABC titles. (And let’s not even address all the world championships.) So, when I am looking for someone to kibitz, Bob is more often than not a likely suspect.

I settled in for the 1st set of boards from the Spingold Round of 32 and was not disappointed in the action. Then, more than halfway through, a new auction began. Zia, East, opened 1S and North called 2D. With Kxx, AKJxxxx, J, xx, Bob bid 2H.

Suddenly, however, Bob looked up. “We played this board in yesterday’s match. Zia; do you have seven spades?”

“No,” was the reply.

The rest of the players chuckled a bit, then wondered what to do. Had the board not yet been played, a redeal would have been easy. Unfortunately, however, the hand had already been passed from the other table. So, the director was called, to help deal with the situation created by Bob’s “senior moment.”

The director listened, then instructed the players to continue. “If it seems as if the board has been compromised, call me back.”

Bob sat there stoically, as he always does, irrespective of the table action.

The players resumed. Bob’s LHO passed, and Zia jumped to 3S.

Once again, Bob stopped. “I need a director,” he muttered – then got up and left the table.

Away from the table, Bob and the director consulted for a minute. Then, both returned. “Let me see your hand,” the director requested of Zia. Zia complied and the hand was examined.

“This hand was played yesterday evening,” the director announced. “Please reshuffle and we’ll have the other table play the substitute.”

As it turns out, the hand had indeed been from the Nickell team’s Round of 64 match. Their other pair had not played that set, so obviously would not have recognized the hand. And Bob had been sitting N/S rather than E/W the night before. Nevertheless, he could remember every pip! He simply had been off one spade on the shape.

Although almost fifty years have passed since Bob captured his first major title, of this be sure. He is still one of the most formidable players on the planet. Only bet against Bob if you can afford to lose!

The rest of us should only be capable of such “senior moments”!

Bob Hamman
Bob has the last laugh.